The members of the European Partnership for Democracy welcome steps that are being taken to strengthen action against sexual harassment and sexual violence within the development community. We believe that harassment in all its forms holds no place in a healthy society. As organisations working to improve representation, accountability and participation we have a responsibility to combat harassment affecting our own staff or our partners.
All of our organisations have internal codes and processes to address these issues. However, we all recognise the need to ensure that these processes are followed and that any gaps in our procedures are closed. We know that we must keep learning from each other and from the experiences in other organisations. For this reason, we have come together to make the following commitments:
- The creation of an EPD Code of Conduct that will be signed by all EPD members;
- The agreement to improve recruitment policies. We will do this through two steps. Firstly, by committing to always seek formal references from an organisation in order to ensure that those who commit violations of codes cannot be mistakenly hired at a different organisation. Secondly, by creating an alert system that would notify other EPD members of a case of harassment;
- To take these steps within the bounds of the legal environment protecting privacy;
- To encourage others within our sector to join us in making the same commitments.
The challenge of combatting harassment is a challenge that faces our whole society and is far greater than our sector alone. Nevertheless, it is important for us all to speak out in order to encourage those who face harassment in the workplace or in private to speak up themselves knowing that we are ready to take the necessary steps to prevent it.