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Call for enact law to prevent sexual harassment at workplace and ratification of ILO Convention 190

Leaders of trade unions, civil society and human rights organisations urged to enact law and ensure proper implementation and ratification of ILO Convention 190 referring the High Court guidelines on prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. Speakers said this at a consultation meeting organised by Gender Platform Bangladesh on March 31, 2021 at BILS Seminar Hall, Dhaka.

BILS Advisory Council member Mesbahuddin Ahmed chaired the meeting while Parliamentary Standing Committee Member on Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Shirin Akhter, MP was present as chief guest. Bangladesh Labour Federation Executive Director Ashraf Uddin acted as moderator and AWAJ Foundation Executive Drector Nazma Akhter delivered the welcome address. Jatiya Sramik Federation President Quamrul Ahsan, Domestic Workers Rights Network-DWRN Acting Coordinator Abul Hossain, Fair Wear Foundation Country Representative Bablur Rahman, Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik Federation President Shamim Ara, Kormojibi Nari Director (Programme) Sunzida Sultana, Sramik Karmachary Oikya Parishad-SKOP representative Md. Abdul Wahed and Pulak Ranjan Dhar, BILS Executive Council Member Nasrin Akhter Dina were present at the meeting among others. BILS Director Nazma Yasmin presented the concept paper on ILO Convention-190 and Awaaj Foundation Legal Adviser Nahida Anjum Kona presented the draft law on prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. Representatives of National Trade Union Federations, Human Rights and Workers Rights organisations and Civil Society and Govt. officials were also present at the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Shirin Akhtar, MP, said that the constitution of Bangladesh speaks of human rights for all citizens. She said women are more aware than before but this awareness will come only when men will be equally aware. She further said that every organisation should pay attention to the implementation of the law in their respective organisations.

Speakers at the meeting said everyone needs to change their perspective from their respective positions. They called upon all to work together for the enact law for the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace and ratify ILO Convention-190.

Mentioning that there is a law in the country against sexual harassment in the Penal Code, BILS Advisory Council member Mesbahuddin Ahmed said that It is not only the law that needs to be implemented and enforced, for this, everyone has to work unitedly and advocacy and publicity arrangements need to be made to raise awareness, he added.

This is to be mentioned that Gender Platform is a coalition of non-government and labour organisations. BILS also Member of this platform.