Public Defender's Statement on Legislative Initiative on Definition of Sexual Harassment

We welcome the legislative initiative of the Members of Parliament, Tamar Kordzaia and Tamar Khidasheli, on the definition of sexual harassment and introduction of a relevant sanction in the Administrative Code.

It is important that this initiative shares the Public Defender’s recommendation and results of the study about the extent of sexual harassment, the covered nature of the problem and the importance of legislative regulation.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still a spread, but tabooed problem that threatens the well-being of men and women, reduces the quality of work and diminishes the quality of gender equality. Together with the existing attitude in the society, the lack of legislative regulation hampers identification of the problem and appropriate response to it.

This initiative concerns sexual harassment in the workplace as well, which is the most common and, at the same time, most covered human rights violation. Studies suggest that 40-50% of women in the European Union suffer from unwanted sexual treatment, physical contact or other forms of sexual abuse in the workplace.

It is particularly important that the legislative initiative shares the essence of Article 40 of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which provides that States shall take all necessary measures to define and ban sexual harassment. It should be noted that it is planned to ratify the Convention in the near future.

Finally, we hope that the Parliament will support the abovementioned initiative and another significant step will be taken forward to promote gender equality.

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