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Workers Union Wants Ratification of Violence and Harrassement Convention Expedited

The convention passed at the 2019 General Conference of the International Labour Organization-ILO in Geneva requires member countries of ILO to domesticate and implement its provisions to respect and promote workplaces free of violence and harassment.

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Workers have asked the government to ratify the Violence and Harassment Convention to curb harassment at places of work.

The convention passed at the 2019 General Conference of the International Labour Organization-ILO in Geneva requires member countries of ILO to domesticate and implement its provisions to respect and promote workplaces free of violence and harassment.

In Africa, only Somalia and Namibia have ratified the convention.

Dr Everline Aketch, the Sub Regional Secretary English Speaking Africa at Public Service International-PSI says Uganda was among the countries that supported the provisions of the convention and urged the government to have the provisions implemented in the country.

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A 2018 survey by the World Health Organization- WHO shows that 30% of women have faced physical and sexual violence globally.

Prof. Consolata Kabonesa from the School of Gender Studies of Makerere University says sexual violence and harassment affects the performance of women at work.

Kabonesa says when the workforce is affected, performance is affected. She says Uganda loses up to Shillings 74 billion in revenue due to sexual and Gender-Based Violence-SGBV while at least Shillings 18.3 billion is lost in dealing with health issues associated with SGBV.

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Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director of Akina Mama WA Africa says the convention addresses gaps that exist in local labour laws. For instance, she says the convention recognizes work in domestic settings, workplace with less than 25 people and also recognizes the psychological trauma of post-sexual violence hence introducing sick leave for victims.

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Musiime adds that the system of justice is inefficient as it takes longer for courts to dispense off such cases which demoralize the victims.

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The State Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Peace Mutuuzo said that cases of gender-based violence have increased during the COVID 19 pandemic. She says her Ministry is working on the provisions in the convention and shall soon submit them to the cabinet for approval.

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The Chairman General of the National Organization of Trade Unions- NOTU Usher Wilson Owere says if this convention is ratified, it will create a better working environment for female workers in Uganda.