Violence and harassment in the world of work are perceived as unacceptable behaviour, practices and threats aimed at inflicting physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm on victims. The International Convention on Ending Violence in the World of Work extends protection to all workers irrespective of their contractual status, including job seekers, trainees, interns and apprentices, and volunteers.
Paragraph 13 of the recommendations on the Convention on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work had suggested a list of people who should be categorised as vulnerable and with special needs to include lesbians homosexuals, HIV/Aids, and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
But Uganda influenced the International Labour Organisation (ILO) member states to allow individual states the powers to decide whether gay people should be regarded as members of vulnerable groups because of their different cultures.
“They wanted to come up with a special list of categories of people, including lesbians and homosexuals, who should be considered as vulnerable but we asked them about other categories of people suffering from cancer, HIV/Aids; [we argued that] this is discriminating against them,” said Mr Pius Bigirimana, the Gender Labour and Social Development ministry permanent secretary who represented Uganda at the 108th ILO conference in Geneva.
According to the permanent secretary violence in the world of work is a threat to dignity, security, health and well-being of everyone that until recently, no international labour standard addressed violence and harassment as its primary aim. They argued that Paragraph 13 was discriminatory to people who have cancer and also need special treatment, swaying other member states to agree to withdraw gay people from the vulnerable.
The sole reason for deleting gay people from the list of vulnerable groups was that while other cultures tolerate them, others do not forcing the International Convention on Ending Violence in the World of Work to do away with them.