The anti-harassment law passed in 2010 in Pakistan, must be properly implemented in order to stop the impunity of those who commit acts of violence.
On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) organized Women Workers Convention which demanded for the anti-harassment committees’ formulation at all the workplaces to stop violence against women at work.
Zehra Khan of HBWWF said that the UN General Assembly proclaimed this day as the International Day against Violence against Women in 1999.
This day is commemorated in honor of the three revolutionary sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Tresa, who fought against the notoriously Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–61). The Mirabal Sisters and their husbands were imprisoned and tortured, but they refused to give in and devoted their lives in order to secure their country’s freedom and democratic order. These three sisters were revered as the Unforgettable Butterflies and later honored as the women’s rights icons.
Zehra Khan said that the persistent violence against women has a significant impact on the lives of working women everywhere. In Pakistan especially, violence against women is a violation of their human rights and a barrier to gender equality. A major concern for trade unions was workplace violence against women, which had an impact on employees’ rights, safety, health, and dignity. In order to avoid all forms of violence against women, unions should priorities addressing these issues both inside and outside of the union.
She also said that the anti-harassment law passed in 2010 in Pakistan, must be properly implemented in order to stop the impunity of those who commit acts of violence. Trade unions must also provide safe venues for women to report harassment situations and remove any barriers to their speaking out, such as shame or fear.
On the occasion Christina Oliver, Assistance General Secretary of Industrial Global Union sent her message that “As we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Industrial Global Union joins hands with our Sisters and Brothers in remembering the Butterfly sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal, who were brutally killed on this day in 1960 by the brutal dictatorial regime of Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Their bravery to fight a corrupt and violent dictator will never be forgotten, nor will their deaths be in vain. Their Revolutionary Spirits will live on forever in our hearts and minds.”
Nasir Mansoor of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) said that given the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame that surround it, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most pervasive, ongoing, and terrible human rights violations in our time. She added that a global movement for the prevention and reaction of violence against women and girls was ignited by the #MeToo movement five years ago. In this backdrop, ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206’s adoption in 2019 has created an incredible momentum for the prevention and eradication of gender-based violence in the workplace.
Saeed Baloch of Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum said that the trade unions are fighting for the ratification and application of the Convention in several countries in collaboration with feminist and other human rights organizations.
He added that ILO C190 has been ratified by 22 nations, 13 of which have done so recently. Ratification of C 190 is increasing fast and it also assuming that the more 50 countries will have ratified this agreement by 2030.
The speakers called an end to all laws that discriminate against women. They demanded an end to workplace harassment of women and the formation of anti-harassment committees in every business. They also demanded an end to wage disparities based on gender, Pakistani government should ratify ILO Convention 190, encourage employers to create policies to end all forms of violence against women in their workplaces and throughout their entire supply chains, and set up mechanisms for women employees to file complaints and have those complaints resolved.
Other who spoke on the occasion were Saira Feroz of United HB Workers Union, Parveen Bano of HBWs, Abdul Hai Baloch of HRCP, Shakeela Asghar, factory worker and Aqib Hussain. (PR)