ITUC OnLine – April 10, 2007(1)

Brussels, 10 April 2007 (ITUC online): Rasem Al Bayari, Deputy General Secretary of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) has been the victim of an attempted assassination for the third time this year. The ITUC is deeply concerned about this serious crime and has called on the authorities to urgently take all possible measures to ensure that it will be properly investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

On Friday 6 April, Mr. Al Bayari was driving his family in a car in Gaza when they were attacked by a group of masked men who opened fire. Fortunately his family escaped without injury. Mr. Al Bayari was hurt however when one of the bullets grazed his neck.

In a letter sent to the authorities, the ITUC vigorously protests at this attempt on Al Bayari’s life and recalls that it had already written to protest at a rocket attack on his home on 29 January 2007 and a bomb attack, also on his home, just 24 hours later. To protect his family and for his own safety, the trade union leader had to leave Gaza for a short period following the January attacks.

“Responsibility for the safety of trade unionist lies with the Palestinian Authorities” said Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary. “The fundamental human rights of trade unionists must be respected” he added.

“So far the government has failed to ensure the respect for those rights, as illustrated by the repeated attacks on the PGFTU and its leaders. It is imperative that the Authority takes urgent measures to ensure there is no repetition of such attacks.”