Like many workers around the world I’ve been working from home to stay safe and to protect others. As part of this regimen I wash my hands frequently. I learned as a child that this was the main way to prevent getting sick from many diseases, and this now includes COVID-19.
Soon I will be returning to my office. So, I began thinking about the facilities at work.
Then I asked myself; what about the 1.6 billion people who live in places where they don’t have safe water, at home or at work? Or the 4.2 billion people who don’t have access to safe sanitation? How do they prevent contagion? And if they are returning to workplaces that have not been inhabited for months, will the water be of adequate quality?
It turns out, I am not the first person to ask such questions. A bunch of ILO standards and tools – including nine Conventions, numerous Recommendations and 19 Codes of Practice – detail requirements for hand-washing facilities in workplaces and workers’ housing. These instruments cover a wide range of economic activities, ranging from agriculture and office work to mining, maritime activities and road transport. This is no small achievement when we consider that every word and detail has been negotiated by governments, workers and employers from the ILO’s 187 member States.
These are some examples of ILO standards that provide COVID-relevant guidance:
• The Hygiene (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1964 (No. 120) requires work premises and equipment to be properly maintained and cleaned, supplied with sufficient, wholesome, water or other drinks, and sufficient and suitable washing and sanitary facilities.
• The Workers’ Housing Recommendation, 1961 (No. 115) advises employers on providing adequate sanitary and washing facilities for workers in employer-owned accommodation.
• The Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) requires employers to provide appropriate training and information on safety and health, and allow workers and their representatives to inquire into all aspects of work-related safety and health, in accordance with national law and practice.
• The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205) protects the safety and health of workers engaged in crisis response.
But it’s not just the responsibilities of employers that are covered. Governments are also asked to provide advice on workplace hygiene, and monitor employer facilities. And workers are required to comply with workplace safety and health requirements.
- The ILO’s Employment-Intensive Investment Programme launched a COVID-related initiative that hired 20,000 young people to help with the distribution of sanitizers and soap, provide education on hygiene-prevention measures, disinfect high risk areas and conduct clean-up campaigns.
- The ILO’s Better Work Nicaragua programme has helped the national garment sector develop an emergency COVID-19 response. Prevention measures include frequent handwashing and guidance for employers.
Many collective agreements also include clauses on sanitary facilities.
Workplaces have much to contribute towards preventing COVID-19 infections. Until treatment or a vaccine is available, solidarity is the only cure. As countries reopen for business, governments, workers and employers must join forces to stifle the pandemic with safe working practices and facilities. Ensuring all workers have the facilities to wash their hands safely and adequately at work will be an important tool in the struggle against this and future pandemics.
Prevent gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies
Top UN officials met in the margins of the 76th General Assembly on Thursday, with a strong call to action to stamp out gender-based violence (GBV), amid a rise in forced displacement and other humanitarian emergencies around the globe.
GBV includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or mental harm – or other forms of suffering, coercion and limits on personal freedoms – and has “long-term consequences on the sexual, physical and psychological health of survivors”, according to the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA).
These are being driven increasingly by conflict, climate change, famine and insecurity, heightening vulnerabilities for girls and women.
‘Willingness to act’
UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem told the meeting on Localizing GBV in humanitarian crises, that peace, justice and dignity are the “birthright of every woman and girl”.
She spoke of the agency’s “clear and ambitious” 2021-2025 Roadmap, which reflects a shared vision and underscored the need to create new pathways to ensure those rights.
Emphasizing the need for accountability “to ourselves and each other”, Ms. Kanem said that as the lead UN agency on the issue, “UNFPA is committed to standing strong”.
She said there was a strong will to act, “to do something about gender-based violence”, she added, stressing the importance of putting the voices of women “at the heart of what we do”
Ms. Kanem pledged to funnel 43 per cent of UNFPA’s humanitarian funding to national and local women’s organizations, saying “now more than ever, they need us”.
Afghanistan: ‘Important reminder’
Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths called the situation in Afghanistan “an important reminder of the primary vulnerability of women and girls in crises”.
He highlighted the vital role of women-led local communities, pointing out that they act as first responders to crisis.
Recalling a recent trip to Ethiopia, where he heard first-hand accounts of the traumas suffered by women in Tigray, he said that it was the local communities who first responded to the atrocities, which underscores the “absolute importance” of listening to women, protecting women and girls, and “protecting local communities to do what they naturally want to do”.
The protection of women is one of the least-funded parts of the humanitarian programme, Mr. Griffiths said.
Getting the word out
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said to deliver on “the ambitious call to action”, it is important to “get the word out” to the girls and women on the ground about the services available.
“This has not been clear at all”, Ms. Fore stated.
The report highlighted that the needs of women and girls are either ignored or treated as an afterthought; and that despite being on the front lines of humanitarian crises, women are not taken seriously enough.
And although the demand for GBV services has increased during COVID, the resources have not, said Ms. Fore, calling for greater support for local women’s groups, including financially.
Fighting GBV is an important priority for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), High Commissioner Filippo Grandi assured participants, especially in situations of forced displacements, which are “rife” with opportunities.
He acknowledged that during humanitarian crises as everyone is moving quickly, too often the critical role of local women’s organizations are overlooked.
The top UNHCR official said that providing “substantive, flexible, direct and rapid” resources to women-led, community-based organizations without undue red tape is “one of the most important” ways to empower them.
He conceded however, “this is a difficult call” as humanitarian funding is follow the trend of being “bureaucratized”.
The Death News of Sidharth Shukla: In the remembrance of Sidnaaz
For most individuals, the death news of Sidharth Shukla seems implausible. Sidharth Shukla, popular actor, and 13 winner Bigg Boss died on Thursday 2 September suffering a severe cardiac arrest at Cooper Hospital in Mumbai. Actor Sidharth constantly challenged the odds in his profession. For many in the TV and movie sector, it is a last-ditch and sometimes fruitless effort to stop a slide into irrelevance in the popular reality program Bigg Boss. But Shukla was the household name that became a feather reality TV sensation for himself who won the 13th show edition in 2019. For the first time, Shukla entered the television limelight, working on BalikaVadhu (2012), in which he tried the part of District Collector Shivraj Shekhar. Shukla portrayed the character throughout the space of three years and won several accolades. A few whiles later, in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), he was reputed to a costar, once again receiving acclaim. Born and reared up in Mumbai, Shukla began as a model by taking a position as a leader in the Manhunt and Mega model Gladrags contests and then starred in Bajaj and ICICI Banking television commercial campaigns. Shortly thereafter, he premiered on Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na, followed by a range of dramatic TV shows such as CID and Aahat, which include criminal dramas. In 2016 Khatron Ke Khiladi won Fear Factor as well. Shukla has also been a popular television host with such series as Savdhaan India and the Got Talent 6 of India. His death caused a shock to the television and film industries.
Police authorities in Mumbai claimed that at around 9 a.m. before death, Shukla complained about cardiac pressure in his home in Oshivara, Mumbai. At that time, his sister, his mother, and brother-in-law were in the house. A physician who came to the house found that he was pulseless. “The family went to Dr. RN Cooper hospital and requested an ambulance. They reached about 9.45 am and before admission he had been proclaimed dead.” The Forensic department leader, Dr. R Sukhdev, verified that on Thursday morning, Shukla was brought dead. The afternoon postmortem exam was performed. No external damage on his body was detected before the autopsy by physicians and police. The Dean of Dr. RN Cooper Hospital, Dr. Sailesh Mohite, refused to comment on the autopsy findings.
Many Celebertities Condolences
“Siddharth, gone too soon. You’ll be missed…” said Actor Salman Khan, who gave him the trophy of Bigg Boss. Kapil Sharma TV comedy host tweeted, “Oh god, it is truly shocking, my condolences to the family, and prayers for the the departed soul” Several TV and film fraternity members, like Rajkummar Rao, came to Mumbai to pay their final honors in Shukla Residence. On Friday his last rites will be conducted.
Shehnaaz Gill on Sidharth Shukla death
Sources close to the actor and individuals who went to his house and told Sidharth Shukla’s family that Shehnaaz is in a condition of shock and cannot cope with his loss today. Source further stated Shehnaaz was deeply impacted by the untimely death of the Balika Vadhu actor. Shehnaaz was very near to Sidharth, and she frequently publicly demonstrated her affection for him. Her compassion and caring for him never shied away. She said she was even in love with him openly. Fans liked their duo much after BB 13, and invented their moniker with affection, Sidnaaz. In two recent programs, Back-to-Back Bigg Boss OTT and Dances Deewane 3, the reported couple had featured.
Sidharth Shukla breathed his last in Shehnaaz Gill’s arms
Sidharth was still complaining of discomfort, and Shehnaaz and his mother begged him to relax. Sidharth was unable to sleep, on the other hand; thus Shehnaaz was requested to remain with him and pat on his back. Sidharth lay on the lap of Shehnhaaz at 1:00 a.m., and the latter walked away gently. She slept, too, and when she woke up at 7am, she found Sidharth sleeping in the same position without moving, and he didn’t stir when she tried to wake him up. From the 12th story to the fifth level, where his family resided, Shehnaaz was terrified and hurried. She notified Sidharth’s sister and phoned their doctor of the family, who told Sidharth that he hadn’t been there anymore.
Ye ‘Dil’ hai Muskil
Why are young people suffering from heart attacks? The death of Siddharth Shukla, 40 years old, has stunned everyone. Initial stories indicating that a heart attack is the reason for Thursday’s death were killed, along with the big boss winner Season-13. In recent times, heart disease has been a worry for health professionals among young Indian people. The question is why in very young age groups in India there has been an increase in cardiac attack.
The greatest way I can escape the trap of thinking that you have anything to lose is to remember that you will die. No excuse to not follow your heart. Nobody wants to die. Nobody wants to die. Such people don’t even want to die to go to paradise to get there. And yet death is our common destination. Nobody has ever avoided it and this is why death is perhaps the finest invention of existence. Life is the agent of transformation. The old one is clearing way for the new one.
Death is, however tragic, probably God’s most beautiful creation. Death is merely another trip; birth and life will never take place without death. It’s unavoidable to lose somebody. Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, illustrates this wonders: Death is transitory and the meaning of life and death. Death is temporary. Death is a normal part of life, we have to realize. Death gives life its full significance. Let life be like summer flowers, let life be lovely and death be like fall leaves. But would it not be much easier to face our own mortality, rather than being unhappy, knowing that our life has been fully and without regret? Even if we don’t want to go to die, it’s just as unavoidable for the sun at night. In conclusion, when your time comes, you don’t have to die happy but you need to die satisfied, since from start to finish you have lived your life.
4.1 billion lack social safety net
More than four billion people live without any welfare protection today to cushion them from crisis, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday, while highlighting how the COVID-19 crisis has pushed up government spending by some 30 per cent.
Leading the call for countries to extend social safety nets far more widely than they do now, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder insisted that such a move would help future-proof workers and businesses in the face of new challenges.
“This is a pivotal moment to harness the pandemic response to build a new generation of rights-based social protection systems,” said Mr. Ryder.
“These can cushion people from future crises and give workers and businesses the security to tackle the multiple transitions ahead with confidence and with hope. We must recognize that effective and comprehensive social protection is not just essential for social justice and decent work but for creating a sustainable and resilient future too.”
It noted that only 47 per cent of the global population are covered by at least one social protection benefit, while only one in four children has access to national welfare safety nets.
Newborns’ needs unmet
Further research indicated that only 45 per cent of women with newborns worldwide receive a cash benefit, while only one in three people with severe disabilities receive a disability benefit.
Coverage of unemployment benefits is even lower, ILO said, with only 18.6 per cent of jobless workers effectively covered globally.
On retirement welfare, the UN body found that although nearly eight in 10 people receive some form of pension, major disparities remain across regions, between rural and urban areas and women and men.
The ILO report underscores the significant regional inequalities in social protection.
Europe and Central Asia have the highest rates of coverage, with 84 per cent of people having access to at least one benefit.
Countries in the Americas are also above the global average (64.3 per cent), in stark contrast to welfare roll-out in Asia and the Pacific (44 per cent), the Arab States (40 per cent) and Africa (17.4 per cent).
Highlighting differences in government spending on social protection, ILO said that high-income countries spend 16.4 per cent of national turnover (above the 13 per cent global average, excluding health), while low-income countries budget just 1.1 per cent.
Billions more needed
The UN body noted that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have had to increase spending massively to ensure minimum social protection for all, by around 30 per cent.
And it maintained that to guarantee basic social protection coverage, low-income countries would need to invest an additional $77.9 billion per year, lower-middle-income countries an additional $362.9 billion and upper-middle-income countries a further $750.8 billion annually. That’s equivalent to 15.9 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 3.1 per cent of their GDP, respectively.
“There is an enormous push for countries to move to fiscal consolidation, after the massive public expenditure of their crisis response measures, but it would be seriously damaging to cut back on social protection; investment is required here and now,” said Shahra Razavi, Director, ILO Social Protection Department.
Underscoring the multiple benefits of social welfare protection, Ms. Razavi insisted that it could promoted “better health and education, greater equality, more sustainable economic systems, better managed migration and the observance of core rights…The benefits of success will reach beyond national borders to benefit us all”.
Russia’s Blueprint For Success in the Middle East
As a tradition in the modern world the Middle East remains unstable. Continuous political turbulence in the region extinguishes all...
India’s view of “terrorism: at the UNGA?
At the recent United Nations’ general Assembly session, India was furious at mention of Kashmir by Pakistan’s prime minister Imran...
Prevent gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies
Top UN officials met in the margins of the 76th General Assembly on Thursday, with a strong call to action...
Syria: 10 years of war has left at least 350,000 dead
A decade of war in Syria has left more 350,200 people dead, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights...
Afghan crisis: Changing geo-economics of the neighbourhood
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has caused a rapid reshuffle in the geo-economics of South, Central and West Asia. While...
The Role and Place of the Taliban on the Global Map of Islam: Challenges and Threats
The rise to power of the Taliban (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) in August 2021 has raised a number...
Millions in Yemen ‘a step away from starvation’
The crisis in Yemen, now in its seventh year of war, continues unabated, with thousands of people displaced and millions...
Intelligence4 days ago
The AUKUS Alliance and “China’s Maritime Governance Strategy” in the Indo-Pacific
Eastern Europe4 days ago
Ukraine’s EU-integration plan is not good for Europe
Americas4 days ago
AUKUS aims to perpetuate the Anglo-Saxon supremacy
Africa4 days ago
Money seized from Equatorial Guinea VP Goes into Vaccine
Terrorism4 days ago
A shift in militants’ strategy could shine a more positive light on failed US policy
Development3 days ago
Demand for Circular Economy Solutions Prompts Business and Government Changes
Urban Development3 days ago
WEF Launches Toolbox of Solutions to Accelerate Decarbonization in Cities
Southeast Asia3 days ago
The Indo-Pacific Conundrum: Why U.S. Plans Are Destined to Fail