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Jordan Labour Watch calls for adoption of convention on harassment at workplace

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Nov 27,2017 - Last updated at Nov 28,2017

AMMAN — The Jordan Labour Watch on Saturday issued a statement in cooperation with the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies, calling on the Jordanian civil society to start a movement for the adoption of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention on Violence and Harassment against Men and Women in the Workplace.  

The statement came on the occasion of the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, held annually from November 25 to December 1 worldwide.

“The lack of a decent working environment for all workers — women and men, and the lack of respect for fundamental rights and principles is a form of violence in the workplace,” Phenix Director Ahmad Awad told The Jordan Times, noting that “the Jordan Labour Watch calls for the adoption of a legislation, policies and regulations that ensure that workers can defend their rights”.

The statement encouraged companies to develop codes of conduct, including the definition and prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace, the establishment of complaint mechanisms as well as other mechanisms to compensate the victim.

Regarding issues directly related to female workers, Awad pointed out that “women are the most vulnerable to violence and harassment in the workplace”, adding that “the Jordan Labour Watch calls for appropriate conditions for working mothers, such as granting them the right to maternity leave, providing custody at the workplace and obliging employers to give women their rights under the Labour Code”.

Sahar Aloul, co-founder of the non-profit organisation SADAQA for a better working environment for women, pointed out that “violence in the workplace is one of the greatest barriers forcing female workers to leave the workforce”.

“We are advocating for the creation of a legal framework that prevents violence against women in the workplace, and we believe that this must be done in cooperation with members of the civil society,” Aloul continued.

“It is also very important to raise awareness on this issue,” the activist remarked, pointing that “several campaigns should be carried out at a mass level to inform youth about the problem, the legal framework, and the available resources and channels for victims”.

The statement also addressed the need to amend the Labour Law to “include a clear definition of sexual harassment, and the addition of articles to punish the perpetrator whether an employer, a manager or a worker.”

Reem Aslan, Gender Equality Consultant at the ILO, told The Jordan Times that “the Jordanian National Commission for Women [JNCW] sent a recommendation to the Prime Ministry in November calling for the amendment of the Article 29 of the Labour Law to clarify what is meant by sexual harassment”, pointing out that “there are a total of 11 articles in the Labour Law that need to be amended in order to make it more gender sensitive at the workplace, and the Penal Code should also be reviewed to make sure that both laws are aligned”.

“We have been lobbying for a long time to make changes in this regard through the Jordan’s National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), represented by 17 organisations from the civil society and the government,” Aslan added.  

Regarding the convention, the official noted that “the ILO has been receiving recommendations from several governments including the Jordanian Ministry of Labour”, which are yet to be discussed at the ILO board meeting next June. 

The Labour Ministry were not available to comment on the demands exposed by the Jordan Labour Watch, despite several attempts to reach them by The Jordan Times. 

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