First UN resolution on sexual harassment

On November 20th, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the first resolution on sexual harassment, urging States to recognize the current situation of violence against women and girls.

The resolution, urges States to take action to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment against women and girls. In addition, the resolution aims to eliminate structural causes and risk factors in order to better protect victims from all forms of violence, including sexual harassment. It calls on States to acknowledge the discrimination that places women and girls at risk of exploitation, violence, abuse, and to, more importantly, take appropriate actions to empower and protect women and girls.

The resolution also demands that States take measures to ensure that employers in all sectors are held accountable for any violations of sexual harassment laws and regulations.

Furthermore, the goals of the resolution are to be applied equally within digital contexts. The resolution asks that States  entrust Digital Technology companies, including Internet services and digital platforms, to strengthen and adopt positive measures in an effort to eliminate violence and sexual harassment.

In general, the resolution urges States to honor, promote and protect women’s human rights to adequate health and sexual and reproductive rights.

France and the Netherlands led negotiations on the draft which this year for the first time included language on combating sexual harassment, in response to the #MeToo movement. President Donald Trump's administration sought to scrap language in the non-binding resolution on access to reproductive health care services, safe abortions and recognizing the right of women to decide on matters related to their sexuality.  However despite backing from Russia, China, India, several Muslim countries and the Vatican, the US failed to water down the UN resolution on combatting sexual harassment and violence against women.

Download the UN Resolution on sexual harassment and violence against women in English - French - Spanish



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