Antigua and Barbuda becomes first Caribbean country to ratify ILO historic C190 Workplace Harrasment

Antigua and Barbuda becomes first Caribbean country to ratify ILO historic C190 Workplace Harrasment

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Antigua and Barbuda: The Caribbean country became the first island in the Caribbean, and the 4th in the wider Caribbean region, considered The Americas, which comprises North, Central and South America, to ratify the ILO historic C190 against Workplace Violence and harassment.

Member states in South America did all other ratifications in the region.

Only fifteen (15) members out of one hundred, and eighty-seven (187) apart of the ILO have ratified C190 against Workplace Violence and Harassment. The convention received unanimous support from Workers, Employers and Governments at the centennial sitting of the International Labour Conference in 2019.

The ratification of this critical convention signals the Government’s commitment to guaranteeing workplaces free of all forms of violence and harassment, including bullying. The mental and physical well-being of the workforce is of utmost importance to this Government and all workplaces are expected to adhere closely to the tenants of C190.

Minister Benjamin noted that work is being done to draft a national policy on workplace violence and harassment spearheaded by the Ministry responsible for Gender Affairs and with full support from the Ministry of Legal Affairs. This Government intends to legislate against workplace violence and harassment.

Benjamin added that in 2019, stakeholders where invited to comment on an OECS draft policy on sexual harassment, which I fully endorsed. This ratification is a further step towards a guarantee of workplace harmony.

C190 covers both private and public sector spaces. It applies to workers irrespective of their contract status. C190 is a legal instrument that establishes every worker’s right to freedom from violence and harassment in the workplace, recognizing it as a human rights violation.

Violence and harassment in the workplace, according to C190 definition, surround physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm and include gender-based violence and harassment.