On 12 January 2023, Ireland deposited the instrument of ratification of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) with the Director-General of the ILO.
By submitting the instrument of ratification, Ireland becomes the 24th country in the world, and the 5th country of the European Union, to ratify Convention No. 190.
Convention No. 190 is a landmark instrument. It is 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. These instruments will be key to achieve the objectives set by the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work, adopted in 2019, that clearly commits to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and more recently, and by the ILO’s Global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
The Convention affirms that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. It also provides for the first internationally agreed definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including of gender-based violence, understood as “a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices” that “aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm”. This definition protects everyone in the world of work, including interns or apprentices, and persons who exercise the duties or authority of an employer, and covers the public and private sectors, the formal and informal economies, as well as urban and rural areas.
The Convention also requires ratifying Member States to adopt, in consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organizations, an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment, through prevention, protection and enforcement measures and remedies, as well as guidance, training and awareness-raising. It also recognizes the different and complementary roles and functions of governments, employers and workers and their respective organizations, taking into account the varying nature and extent of their responsibilities. The Convention and its accompanying Recommendation are tangible evidence of the enduring value and strength of social dialogue and tripartism, which have shaped them and will be essential in implementing them at national level.
In depositing the official instrument of ratification at the ceremony held at the ILO in Geneva, Ms Clare McNamara, Deputy Permanent Representative Counsellor, stated: “Violence and harassment in the workplace are unacceptable and undermine the principles of human rights. We have comprehensive legislation in Ireland to protect against this and Convention No. 190 sends a clear signal to workers and employers that every workplace must be free from harassment and violence. Ireland was committed to being an early ratifier of this Convention and we are pleased to deposit the instrument of ratification today. Through the ratification of this ILO Convention, Ireland is taking a strong stand against violence and harassment in the workplace. The ILO is unique in the UN system with governments, workers and employers working together to promote decent work and advance social justice and we thank our social partner representatives, IBEC and ICTU, for their work on this Convention. The strong relationship we have with employer and employee representative bodies is fundamental to our ability to play an active role within the ILO.”
Receiving the instrument of ratification of Convention No. 190, the Director-General, Mr Gilbert F. Houngbo, stated: “Violence and harassment is a pervasive phenomenon that can affect all persons in the world of work in all sectors and all countries. Certain factors may increase the risk of violence and harassment, such as the presence in specific sectors, occupations and work arrangements where exposure is higher, participation in the informal economy or migration status. The current COVID-19 pandemic has also increased specific risks of violence and harassment in the world of work, and addressing them is key to promote a human-centered response and recovery that tackles injustice and supports the building of a better normal. By ratifying Convention No. 190, Ireland commits to the creation of a world of work free from violence and harassment, based on dignity and respect for all. This ratification represents a step forward towards the engagements made by the International Labour Conference in the 2019 Centenary Declaration, in particular the commitment to a world of work free from violence and harassment.”