ILO Turkey Office renews its call for Ratification of Violence and Harassment Convention (C190)

Speaking at the event on preventing violence in the world of work, Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, stated that social partners, private sector and civil society were already mobilized and working to implement the Convention, though not yet ratified, and practices deriving from the Convention already being introduced at work.

News | 05 April 2022
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Turkey renewed its call for the ratification of ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) at the broad-based meeting of 31 March 2022 that it brought together social partners, private sector and civil society working to implement C190 to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work.

At the hybrid-format event “Preventing Violence against Women in the World of Work – Experience Sharing Forum” organized in Ankara by the ILO Office for Turkey, participants discussed the efforts and next steps in Turkey and in the world to implement C190 since its adoption in 2019 and prevent violence against women at work.

As a first step of the long-term process through which the ILO Office for Turkey aimed to ensure that C190 would be ratified and implemented, and stand higher on the agenda of social partners, the event served as a platform where social partners made presentations on their institutional work to have C190 implemented.

At the meeting, experts from the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) and Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) of ILO HQ Geneva provided insights on the roles of workers’ and employers’ organizations in countries that ratified C190.

“Convention, a significant instrument in preventing violence and harassment against women”

Delivering the opening remarks for the event, Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, noted that adopted in the Centenary of ILO, C190 was the first ever international treaty addressing violence and harassment in the world of work, and emphasized the importance for Turkey to ratify the Convention.

Özcan said: “Violence and harassment at work is a major barrier to women’s access to and remaining in the world of work, and advancing to higher posts. Indeed, everybody has a right to violence-free world of work.”

“By its inclusive and gender-responsive approach, ILO’s C190 is a significant instrument in preventing violence and harassment in the world of work, particularly against women.”

“Governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations have roles and responsibilities”

Noting that C190 emphasized the importance of combating gender stereotypes, discrimination and power relations built on gender inequality in preventing violence against women at work, Özcan said: “The Convention assigns roles and responsibilities to governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations in preventing violence in the world of work.”

“Practices being introduced, though Convention not yet ratified”

Underlining that social partners, private sector and civil society in Turkey were already mobilized and working to implement the Convention, though not yet ratified, and practices deriving from the Convention already being introduced at work, Özcan continued: “I would like to express our gratitude to all parties with us here today for their pioneering work towards the Convention, for campaigns undertaken, and for keeping the Convention high on the agenda through their collective agreements and policy papers.”

The Ambassador of Sweden to Ankara, His Excellency Staffan Herrström noted that gender-based violence was a phenomenon experienced by one third of women through their lives and a fundamental reason for women’s failure to participate in the labour markets equally with men; and ILO C190 was a ground-breaking step in combating violence against women.

Ambassador Herrström underlined that the Convention was a first ever international treaty that defined violence and harassment in the world of work as a violation of human rights and threat to equal opportunities.

“A historic ILO Convention emphasizes combating gender-based discrimination”

“This historic ILO Convention recognizes for the first time that everybody has the right to a work environment free of violence and harassment, and leads the way in transforming the work culture on the basis of equality, honour and respect.”

“C190 emphasizes the importance of fighting root causes of violence and harassment, gender-based discrimination, power relations and precarious forms of work to combat violence against women.”

Ambassador Herrström stated that the cooperation with ILO led to significant and substantive outcomes such that the Convention’s articles were incorporated in policy papers and collective agreements by labour unions, and engaged all social partners of ILO, public agencies, NGOs and private sector in the movement for ratifying the Convention to form a social dialogue platform.

“Activities are underway in Turkey, as in other countries, to have the Convention ratified. Social parties have since 2019 been running campaigns in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, and making great efforts to incorporate the Convention’s articles on the social dialogue agenda.”

“Significant distance was covered in the last two years in terms of creating awareness on incorporating the Convention’s articles in collective agreements and workplace policies, and preventing gender-based violence at work.”

“Focusing on violence at work, C190 is an important complementary international treaty”

Canan Güllü, Chairwoman of the Federation of Women Associations of Turkey (TKDF), presented information on their work relating to violence against women, and noted that C190 was an important complementary international treaty as it addressed violence at work.

Drawing attention to the fact that cases of violence against women were on the rise from 2018 to 2021, Güllü pointed to the importance of media in combating violence against women, implementing the Convention and creating awareness on the matter.

Then, Mr. Sergejus Glovackas, Mr. Victor Hugo Ricco and Mr. Christian Hess of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) and Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) of ILO HQ Geneva made presentations offering insights on the roles of workers’ and employers’ organizations in countries that ratified C190, and on the contributions of ratifying the Convention to workers and employers, particularly to improving women’s working conditions.


Also shared at the event was the Turkish version of the Guide released by ILO HQ Geneva to help shape the work and efforts on the matter.

At the Experience Sharing Forum moderated by TKDF Chairwoman Canan Güllü, social partners, private sector and civil society presented their experience and own institutional work for implementing the Convention.


Participating at the forum were HAK-İŞ, DİSK, IndustriALL, Unified Metal-İş Union, Teksif Union, Öz İplik İş Union, Hizmet-İş Union, Genel-İş Union, Turkish Journalists Union, TÜRK-İŞ, Öz Gıda İş Union, BARILLA, KARSAN, Ankara University - CTS Support Unit against Sexual Harassment and Assault, Anti-Mobbing Society, Association for Gender Equality, UNWOMEN, Tez-Koop-İş Union, Textile Workers.

About ILO C190

Aiming to achieve a world of work free of violence and harassment, Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and accompanying Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206) were adopted by the International Labour Conference at its Centenary Session in 2019. Thereby, it was recognized by the binding force of an international treaty that violence and harassment were “a violation of human rights and threat to equal opportunities”.

Reminding that women are more likely to be exposed to violence and harassment at work, the Convention focuses specific environments of violence and harassment in certain sectors, and addresses domestic violence by its associated impact in the world of work. The Convention specifically emphasizes that violence will likely prevent women’s access to, remaining and advancing in the labour markets.

Having entered into force in 2021, and C190 has been ratified by 11 member states to date.