As part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, a panel discussion will happen on Thursday December 9 on “Creating Safe Workplaces Free from Violence and Harassment”. The public can join the event via:



The event focuses on addressing workplace violence and harassment, as part of the Government’s commitment to the National Sustainable Development Plan and the recently launched National Gender Equality Policy 2020-2030.

Following an opening statement by the Acting DG of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Rothina Noka and a launching by the Deputy Primate Minister Hon. Ishmael Kalsakau the Commissioner of Labour Murielle Meltenoven will deliver the keynote address, talking about the meaning of sexual harassment, its prevalence in Vanuatu and worldwide, and what needs to be done to address it.

The panel discussion will feature representatives from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Vanuatu Christian Council, Silae Vanua Market Vendors’ Association and National Union of Workers. The event will be closed with remarks from key donors.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Women’s Affairs, the Department of Labour, UN Women, Sista, HCDI and World Vision with support from the EU, DFAT, MFAT and UN Women under the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that” “everyone has the right to live and work free from violence and harassment” and the Vanuatu Constitution confirms the rights and freedoms of all individuals without discrimination based on sex, race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions or language.

In spite of this, violence and harassment against women in the world of work is still pervasive in all jobs, all occupations, and all sectors of the economy in all countries across the world. It affects women and girls, regardless of of education, income levels, social status, or age.

In Vanuatu:

o          Stakeholder consultations showed that violence and harassment in the workplace is a significant issue, particularly for women.

o          Sexual harassment happens, it happens frequently, and it happens everywhere: in government workspaces, private workspaces, and the informal sector, affecting for instances women in the market and women working as house girls. It also happens to women working in the seasonal workers schemes in New Zealand, Australia and other areas.

o          Addressing workplace sexual harassment is key part of the new 2020-2030 Gender Equality Policy and the Department of Women’s Affairs and the Department of Labour strongly support measures to address workplace sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment and violence in the workplace has serious consequences for women and girls. It affects not only their safety, health and well-being , but also their ability to access, participate, and progress fully and equally, in society and the economy. Workplace sexual harassment and violence also affects their families and communities. It affects the reputation of the workplace, workplace productivity, the economy, and a country’s ability to make meaningful progress in social equality and inclusion.