Above picture: Guy Ryder and Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan during the virtual ceremony.

C* Convention to Enter Into Force in June 2021

Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, has become the second country after Uruguay to ratify ILO Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revealed.

The ILO announced Fiji’s ratification through its news bulletin on Thursday, stating that by this action, Convention No. 190 will enter into force in a year’s time, on June 25, 2021.

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According to the ILO, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office along with other international organizations in Geneva, deposited the ratification instrument with ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, in a virtual ceremony.

“This ratification is a testament of the Government’s commitment to equality as is enshrined in the Fijian Constitution, and ratification is also consistent with Fiji`s membership of the Human Rights Council. Ratification of Convention 190 demonstrates Fiji’s willingness to lead the way in committing to international standards and best practices.

“This Convention is timely and highly applicable to address real challenges in the world of work today such as violence, harassment and intimidation. We note in particular the inclusivity of the Convention. It purports to protect and empower all those who are the subject of bullying and harassment at work, including women. The Convention encompasses the intersectionality of the sources of discrimination, thus encompassing the reality of the lives of many workers,” Ambassador Khan was quoted to have said.

Adopted in June 2019, Convention No. 190, according to the ILO, is a landmark instrument being the first international labour standard to address violence and harassment in the world of work.

“Together with Recommendation No. 206, it provides a common framework for action and a unique opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect. The Convention affirms that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. It includes the first international definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence.

“The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse…is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.” It defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.” It reminds member States that they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance”, the ILO said.

Guy Ryder, ILO’s Director General, speaking on Fiji’s ratifications stated: “I am extremely pleased to receive this instrument of ratification, which bears witness to the commitment of the Government of Fiji to combatting violence and harassment in all its forms in the world of work. I note in addition that this ratification was unanimously approved by the Fijian Parliament on 28 May 2020.

“This ratification marks an important step towards the achievement of decent work, particularly in these unprecedented times in which the world is struggling to overcome and recover from a global pandemic. In times of crisis and economic insecurity, the risk of violence and harassment escalates, as has been so evident during this devastating pandemic.

“Violence and harassment is unacceptable at any time; it is clear that Convention No. 190 has a crucial role to play, whether in times of prosperity or during times of crisis. For a human-centred response and recovery, free from violence and harassment in the world of work, Convention No. 190 provides a clear and practical roadmap.”

The ILO revealed that Fiji also ratified the Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (P. 155), becoming the 13th country worldwide to do so.

The Protocol recognizes the important role of reliable statistical data in achieving progress on occupational safety and health. In particular, it reinforces the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) ratified by Fiji in 2008 regarding recording and notification of occupational accidents and diseases as well as the publication of national statistics. These two instruments serve as a blueprint, along with the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187) , for setting up and implementing comprehensive national occupational safety and health systems, based on prevention and continuous improvement.

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