Summary Seminar -FENASOL and MWB
For the Ratification of ILO Convention No. 190 R 206
Guaranteeing Gender Justice in Lebanon
Under the auspices of FENASOL and MWB, and in preparation for May 1st International Workers Day, and with the participation of representatives from women’s associations, unions, workers and civil society organizations, a symposium titled
“International Labor Day
Ratify ILO Convention 190
Fee from Violence and Harassment in the Workplace ”
The symposium is part of the project to “Guaranteeing Gender Justice in Lebanon” in cooperation with the FPS and supported of the municipality of Tarragona in Barcelona
1- The symposium was held at the headquarters of the FENASOL and also through the “Facebook – FENASOL page” https://www.facebook.com/castro.abdallah/videos/10160235838068268
application. The symposium was attended by Mr. Mustafa Said, in charge of labor activities in the Arab world, the ILO and Mrs. Maya Nahra, Member of the Executive Bureau of MWB. Moreover, the seminar was moderated by Mrs. Inaam Abdullah, Secretary of Working Women in FENASOL.
Mrs. Inaam Abdallah opened the symposium by confirming that, on the approach of May 1, we say that sexual harassment is a form of violence, and the most dangerous type is that of the practitioner in the workplace, and it is a forcibly tolerated taboo due to the privacy of society and its moral sensitivity, and given the need of the individual, the victim, to work. There is a scarcity of information and the concealment of many facts, and there are no statistics or figures that explain the extent, type, or nature of this harassment, which make identifying the effects of this phenomenon difficult, and thus attempts to reduce or treat it are very difficult.
Abdullah indicated that working women in Lebanon suffer from marginalization, exclusion, and life and social pressures, and the disaster of the economic collapse and the Corona pandemic came to increase this suffering, as the number of workers dismissed from work increased due to the closure of many institutions, and the working woman had the largest share of the effects of these measures. In addition to that, the home quarantine and complete closure due to the Corona pandemic had its negative effects in terms of increasing domestic violence, and of course children and women are its most prominent victims, and among its victims are also foreign domestic workers who were either suddenly dismissed from their services or made work without pay.
Mustafa Said stressed that the application of ILO Convention 190 is a necessity given the violence and harassment experienced by female workers in the labor market, adding that the status of working women in Lebanon is linked to the situation of all women who suffer from violence and discrimination by laws.
Said pointed out that international standards are tools for assistance and support, but there is a need to struggle to amend local laws that contradict international standards. International Convention 190 is not limited to working women, but also affects working men, but the focus is on women because they are the most vulnerable to violence and harassment at work.
Said added that the International Labor Convention stresses that everyone, regardless of race, nationality and gender, has the right to live in a world free from violence and harassment, so there is a need to address the roots of this phenomenon. One of its forms is the necessity of establishing criminal laws against anyone who commits harassment and violence at work.
Said concluded by stressing the need for pressure to amend the labor law and to include provisions on violence and harassment, which requires the establishment of a broad coalition that includes women’s organizations, unions and trade unions.
Maya Nahra stopped at the economic situation that we have reached, stating that it is difficult and the poor are the ones who pay the price of what we have reached in terms of economic collapse, and workers are the only ones facing the alliance of banks and capitalists who exploit workers in all forms.
Furthermore, Nahra emphasized that women suffer from discrimination on the legal and economic levels. On the legal level and despite the Lebanese constitution affirming in its introduction to equality between men and women, women married to non-Lebanese are not entitled to pass their nationality to their children, while men have the right to do so, even Lebanon, which has ratified the CEDAW agreement, has reservations about the article in which it stipulates the right of women to pass on their nationality to their children. Additionally, women suffer from discrimination in personal status laws, because there are 15 sectarian personal status laws all of them perpetuate discrimination against women at all levels, in divorce and custody, and it even legalizes the marriage of minor girls. As for the Labor Law, and despite its recognition of equal wages between men and women for equal work, the law does not provide mechanisms for its implementation in the event of a violation and it excludes domestic workers, which exposes them to violence. As for the right to paid maternity leave, it is in the Labor Law of 10 weeks, which is less than the standard of the International Labor Organization, which imposed maternity leave for a period of 14 weeks. She added that the law prohibits female work in heavy and night work, but there are also no enforcement mechanisms.
Furthermore, Nahra indicated that Lebanon has approved Law No. 164 on preventing human trafficking, but it is a law that does not include prevention mechanisms, and we find the worst forms of discrimination against women in acquitting the rapist if he marries her, and giving a mitigating excuse in honor crimes, pointing out that the Law on the Protection of Women of Domestic Violence No. 296 does not criminalize marital rape. Also Nahra confirmed that despite the criminalization of harassment, it dealt with it from a moral standpoint aimed at protecting society without protecting the harasser, and reached the point of asking the harasser to prove the offense, with the impossibility and difficulty that means.
Maya Nahra concluded by stressing the need to ratify the International Labor Convention 190 and Recommendation No. 206 as the global standard for the elimination of violence and harassment, without reservations, as Lebanon did in the CEDAW agreement.
Beirut, April 7.2021