Spotlight on Sexual Harassment Act tomorrow

Spotlight on Sexual Harassment Act tomorrow

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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SPOTLIGHT Initiative Jamaica is set to convene a virtual round table on sexual harassment tomorrow to contribute to ongoing public education on the draft Sexual Harassment Act.

The discussion is also intended to provide coping tips for victims and current best practices in sexual harassment policy and complainant protection in Jamaica, a release from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jamaica said yesterday.

The special event, which will be convened during the global '16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence', has been dubbed When Sexual Harassment Happens: All You Need To Know, and is intended to help the public make informed contributions to the ongoing discussion and to handle the trauma of harassment in the workplace.

The release said the event will feature an introduction of the draft Sexual Harassment Act, an overview of how trade unions are currently securing justice for victims of sexual harassment, and insights from the sexual harassment policy of the UNDP.

Panellists, according to the release, will include Georgette Grant, legal officer of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Danny Roberts, head of the Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute, UWI Open Campus; and Kamala McWhinney, United Nations stress counsellor.

Also contributing will be UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio, and Spotlight Initiative Programme Coordinator Novia McKay, the release added. The moderator for the event is expected to be Emprezz Golding of the Smile Jamaica morning show and Talk Up Yout.

“We believe this is a timely and opportune moment to convene this round table as the joint select committee of Parliament reviews and receives submissions on the draft Act. The Spotlight Initiative, implemented by UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women, remains committed to a holistic and multidimensional approach to our shared mission of ending violence in all forms against women and children. Legislative overhaul is a necessary part of that process as individual rights and State institutions that are strengthened will provide a bulwark against violence,” Antonio is quoted as saying.

McKay — who is the programme coordinator for the European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative Jamaica — underscored the importance of the round table.

“This discussion is urgently needed at this time as sexual harassment is one of the key areas of intervention for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Having legislation in place that is gender- responsive and human rights-based will ensure that Jamaica maintains its commitment as outlined in the National Strategic Plan to eliminate gender-based violence. The UN, through the Spotlight Initiative, remains a firm partner in this,” McKay said.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Launched with a seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, the initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women's empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the sustainable development goals, the release said.

UNDP is inviting the public to participate in the round table on the Zoom platform by registering at https://bit.ly/369jL1j .


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