ITUC-Africa wants an African continent free from violence against women

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By Michael Oche

In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ITUC-Africa has called for stakeholders to work together to create an African continent where every woman lives free from the threat of violence and enjoys the full spectrum of her rights.

Within the world of work, violence and harassment constitutes one of the greatest threats to decent work, which can tear at the social fabric of our societies.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is celebrated every November 25, and ITUC-Africa says it stands in solidarity with individuals, organisations, and communities across the continent in the shared commitment to prevent and combat violence against women.

In 2019, the ILO established for the first time an international treaty aimed at ending violence and harassment in the world of work, and set out a common framework for preventing, addressing and eliminating it. ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment (No. 190), and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 206), adopted by a large majority of the ILO’s tripartite constituents – governments, employers, and worker representatives – recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment in all its forms, including gender-based violence.

Speaking at this year’s celebration, in Nairobi Kenya, Chairperson of ITUC-Africa Women Committee, Comrade Gladys Blanche called for increased ratification of ILO Convention 190.

At least 25 countries have ratified C190, with about seven of those being Africans. The Africa countries to ratify include the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Somalia.

Comrade Gladys Blanche emphasized the need for countries to speed up ratification of the C190, noting that this year’s celebration serves as a reminder that violence against women is a pervasive issue that knows no boundaries, affecting women from all walks of life, in every territory, and across generations.

“The adoption of Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment. We, therefore, reiterate our call for the ratification of the ILO Convention 190.
ITUC-Africa recognises the urgent need for collective action to eliminate violence against women,” she said.

She noted that ITUC-Africa will continue to lead awareness-raising actions among the continent’s trade union leadership to elevate the issue of gender-based violence in the world of work as a priority.

She said “We shall increase our mobilisation of our male counterparts as HE4HER champions and redouble our efforts to deconstruct and defeat patriarchy, stereotypes, misogyny, chauvinism and other societal actions that undermine the rights and well-being of women and girls in our communities and economies.

“In commemorating this significant event, we urge everyone on our continent to recommit to the strive for equality, justice, and human dignity.”