MONROVIA-About thirty five participants ranging from relevant government institutions, the County Labor Commissioner, women groups’ representatives, representatives from Civil Society Organizations, representative from the physically challenged community, and other key human rights actors ended a two day intensive consultation dialogue in Ganta, Nimba County.
Among other things, the engagements were geared towards identifying gaps and limitations in the Decent Work Act (DWA) of 2015 and the Civil Service Standing Order (SO) With funding support from the EU and UN joint SPOTLIGHT project, The consultation was also meant to strengthen stakeholder’s knowledge on gender issues, human rights and how to, in an innovative ways, eliminate discrimination and prohibit violations and abuses against women and girls in the Public and Private Sectors.
Their representations among other things were also aimed at enabling them contribute to the review process.
As a means of addressing some of the constrains faced at various work places, participants at the end of the review process, proffered significant number of recommendations covering employment opportunities, working hours & benefits including working environment and other areas of concern aimed at addressing violence against women and girls in the work place.
Among others things they want all institutions including businesses and concession companies be mandated to develop a sexual harassment policy, be printed and distributed and read to each employee on the first day of work.
The participants at the same time encouraged government to establish an independent monitoring mechanism to probe into alleged Sexual harassment cases, as well as monitor, report and make recommendation to remedy cases of sexual harassment, The key stakeholders in the sector challenged government to as an institution to institute policy that will prioritize qualified and competent females in leadership roles, to ensure gender equity in the work place including the establishment of human rights desks / units at various work places and many others.
They are of the strongest conviction that If government will promote gender equality and value for women in the work environment, and create change in the work environment in the country, the Revision of the Decent Work Act to identify shortcoming in favor of women in businesses and employment arena;,
empower women who are disadvantaged and its affected by business related human rights violation and abuses; and mainstream gender framework when developing the Liberia National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, should be paramount.
Additionally, The elimination of issues surrounding unfair labor practices, violation and abuses of women rights including sexual harassment and ‘sex-for-work’ in the public and private sectors must be of keen interest and concern to the policy makers, they pointed out.
They stressed the issue of limited business knowledge coupled with the lack of access to credit and banking services which are major problems to women’s entrepreneurship and business opportunities, thus exposing them to abuses as such needs to be addressed.
Meanwhile, The sessions were facilitated by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Civil Service Agency and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights while the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) here in Liberia provided technical and advisory support.