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28 Jun 2019

Unions refuse to sign anti-discrimination treaty because of LGBT clause

Malaysia said it already had laws in place to protect LGBT workers.

Two major unions in Malaysia have refused to sign a treaty protecting workers from harassment and violence because of an LGBT clause. Unions from around the world voted in the Convention Concer¬n¬ing Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. They voted at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on 21 June. But the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) was the only union in the world to vote against it. Employer representative groups Malaysian Employers Federa¬tion (MEF) voted against the treaty. So did groups from Singapore, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala, whereas even representatives from Saudi Arabia voted for the ratification.

The Malaysian groups refused to sign it because of a section of the convention which called for members to ‘ensure that measures to prevent violence and harassment do not result in the restriction of the participation in specific jobs, sectors or occupations, or their exclusion therefrom, of women and vulnerable groups.’ Some of those identified groups including LGBT people and people living with HIV.

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