Somalia has recently taken historic steps to counter gender-based violence and harassment in places of work, and end child labour across the country.
Duran Farah, the Somali Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, virtually presented the instrument of ratification of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) to International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder.
“With the early ratification of Convention No. 190, Somalia recognizes the critical importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in promoting peace”, the Director-General stated.
The convention consists of 20 articles that define ways in which member states can respect, promote and realize an inclusive and safe workplace. The convention applies to all sectors, both private and public, and in the formal and informal economy.
Article 5 of the convention calls for the abolition of child labour, whereas the Somali Labour Code of 2018 in Chapter 19 (Articles 126-130) states that the minimum age for employment is 15-years-old, with special exceptions granted to those below the age of 15-years-old on “light work”. This means that the Somali government will have to amend its Labour Code or adopt a new law that would seek the total abolition of child labour in order to adhere to the ILO convention.
The Somali Labour Code discusses women in the context of motherhood, placing its emphasis on the rights of expectant and nursing mothers, but not on women in general. The ILO convention however has outlined the rights that women should have in the workplace regardless of their personal lives, and it also clearly seeks to eliminate violence directed at women because of their sex or gender, including sexual harassment.
“As a member state of the ILO, the Somali government is committed to enforcing the international labour organization’s Constitution and standards to promote social and economic justice and uphold internationally recognized human and labour rights”, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs stated.
[Picture courtesy of ILO]