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Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me extend a warm welcome to all the speakers and participants of this important and timely event organized by UN Women.
With this event, Germany and Finland, as co-sponsors, strive to take stock of the current debate on ending sexual harassment in the workplace. With a focus on prevention, we aim to bring forward practices and, also, solutions for providing safe environments in which sexual harassment is never tolerated.
Sexual harassment is a form of violence against women. It undermines our core values; it has damaging consequences for those affected and it perpetuates skewed power relations that negatively impact our safety and well-being.
The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women recognized that sexual harassment is a violation and abuse of human rights and impedes the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women.
Through its viral spread, the “MeToo movement” has put a spotlight on the worldwide prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. Although the psychological and physical damages are well known and described, there are still many countries that fail to have legal frameworks protecting women and men from sexual harassment.
With regard to violence in the world of work, Germany supports negotiations that are currently taking place in the International Labour Organization. This is not only about protecting women, but transfers to our societies as a whole: gender and sexual orientation should never be the basis for discrimination – be it in the workplace or elsewhere.
Germany will continue to advocate for effective instruments to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work. We are ready to take up the insights that today’s discussion will offer and I look forward to a fruitful exchange.