Uganda Officially Adopts ILO Convention 190 to Eradicate Workplace Violence and Harassment

Monday, August 7, 2023
Ambassador Marcel Tibaleka, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). PHOTO/COURTESY
Busiinge Aggrey
5 Min Read

Geneva | The Black Examiner – At the International Labour Organization (ILO) headquarters in Geneva, Ambassador Marcel Tibaleka, representing the Government of the Republic of Uganda, deposited the instrument of ratification for Convention 190 (C-190) on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. This historic move showcases Uganda’s unwavering commitment to fostering safe and inclusive work environments, free from violence and harassment.

During the ratification ceremony, Ambassador Marcel Tibaleka, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, emphasized the significance of Convention 190 in building a just and fair society. He stressed Uganda’s determination to ensure a respectful working environment, promoting human rights and dignity in the world of work. Ambassador Tibaleka also sought the ILO’s support in effectively implementing the provisions of this critical convention.

Director-General Gilbert Houngbo lauded Uganda’s decisive action in ratifying the convention, making it the 32nd country in the world and the 8th African nation to do so. He extended heartfelt congratulations to Uganda, recognizing that this ratification reaffirms the country’s commitment, as well as that of the entire region, to combatting violence and harassment in the workplace.

Convention 190 (C-190), adopted by the ILO in June 2019, is an international labor standard aimed at promoting a safe and healthy working environment for all workers, encompassing both public and private sectors. The key provisions of this convention include its broad scope, covering all workers, and defining “violence and harassment” as any behavior, action, or threat that leads to physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm.

Employers are required to take preventative measures against violence and harassment, including implementing policies, conducting risk assessments, and providing appropriate training for employees. The convention also emphasizes the need for protection for victims and witnesses of such incidents, encouraging confidential reporting mechanisms and support services.

Promoting awareness and education on the issue is another vital aspect of the convention, advocating for training programs and educational initiatives to prevent and address violence and harassment. It also recognizes the role of collective bargaining in tackling these issues, encouraging social dialogue between employers, workers, and their representatives.

Notably, the convention explicitly acknowledges the importance of addressing gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace, a significant step towards gender equality in the world of work.

With this ratification, Uganda is set to collaborate closely with the ILO and the international community to comprehensively implement Convention 190. By collectively supporting this essential convention, Uganda aims to create a better, safer, and more equitable world of work for all its citizens.

The implications of this ratification are significant, as ILO member states that ratify the convention commit to implementing its provisions in their national laws and practices. These states are also required to provide regular reports on measures taken to comply with the convention’s requirements. Having been ratified by two member states on 25th June 2021, the convention entered into force, and any member state that ratifies it must comply with its provisions twelve months after the date of its ratification registration.

It is worth noting that in May 2023, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Amended Employment Bill, incorporating provisions of Convention 190, further solidifying Uganda’s commitment to creating a safe and respectful work environment for all its workers.

Uganda’s ratification of Convention 190 is a significant step towards building a safer and more inclusive workforce, setting an example for other nations to follow in the pursuit of a violence-free world of work.


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