ICFTU OnLine – January 25, 2006(2)

Brussels, 25 January (ICFTU OnLine) Alaa Issa Khalaf, a member of the Executive Board of the Baghdad branch of the mechanics union, and a prominent member of the recently created General Federation of Iraqi Workers, GFIW, has been killed. He was shot dead at around 7.30 am on January 25 by several unidentified men as he left for work from his home in Baghdad. In a letter to the authorities of the country, the ICFTU firmly condemned what it considers to be a targeted attack on a trade union activist.

In its condemnation of this murder, the ICFTU also recalled that Iraq, as a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has an obligation to respect the fundamental labour standards established by it, particularly Convention 87 on freedom of association, and urged the Iraqi authorities to immediately ratify this convention. It is unacceptable that Iraqi trade unionists should exercise their activities in a climate of extreme tension and violence.

The case of Alaa Isaa Khalaf is unfortunately not unique. It is not the fist time that a trade unionist has been murdered or abducted in Iraq.

The ICFTU strongly urged the Iraqi authorities to ensure that this case is fully investigated and that those responsible for the murder are detained and brought to justice. It also called for immediate steps to be taken to ensure that trade unionists are able to carry out their work without fear for their safety and their lives.