ILO Adopts Convention on Workplace Harassment
Last week, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a treaty against workplace violence and harassment. With all but seven countries voting in favor, the convention addresses harassment across professional activities. Treaty discussions began in 2015 and increased in the aftermath of the global #MeToo movement, as women around the world publicly shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. National #MeToo campaigns have sparked action across the public and private sectors as governments create and strengthen anti-harassment legislation. The accord marks a significant international response to the #MeToo movement, and will enter into force one year after at least two countries ratify it.
Al-Azhar Imam Issues Fatwa Against Child Marriage
The deputy grand imam of al-Azhar University, arguably the highest authority on Islamic jurisprudence, issued a fatwa against child marriage during the African Summit on Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriages last week. Though not the first fatwa on the practice, activists predict that al-Azhar's authority will carry significant weight. Summit organizer Jaha Dukureh, a survivor of child marriage and FGM, worked with the imams to draft the document. Approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before age 18, and rates are increasing in countries experiencing conflict, such as Syria and Yemen. In addition to the fatwa, government ministers, religious leaders, and activists created a declaration urging African countries to take further action on ending child marriage.
Spanish Supreme Court Hands Down Rape Verdict
This week, the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced five defendants to 15 years in prison for rape, reversing an earlier decision that instead found the men guilty of sexual abuse, a lesser offense in the Spanish legal system. Spanish law requires evidence of violence and intimidation for an act to be considered rape, so despite video of the attack, judges claimed the victim had not protested enough. The first ruling kicked off nationwide protests, and hundreds of thousands took to the streets in demonstrations lasting three consecutive days. Activists said the case represented broader challenges women face under the Spanish justice system. In response to the outcry, Spain’s acting deputy minister pledged to revise the law to clarify consent in rape trials.