ITUC OnLine – May 18, 2009

Brussels, 18 May 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has strongly condemned and denounced the ever-worsening climate of impunity in Guatemala, highlighted once again by the assassination on 10 May of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who had left a video accusing President Colom in the event of his murder.

The national, regional and international trade union movements have joined with the Guatemalan labour, indigenous and campesino movement (MSICG) in condemning the violence and impunity affecting the day-to-day lives of the Guatemalan people, along with the total impunity surrounding the murders of women, the assassinations of transport workers, human rights activists and trade unionists.

For the ITUC and the MSICG, support for the development of the limited democratic system is essential in Guatemala, following 36 years of war, as much work remains to be done. Accordingly, the international trade union movement welcomed the decision of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to investigate this murder and fully supports its commitment to taking the investigation as far as it has to go, regardless of the consequences and the people involved.

In a letter to the Guatemalan president, Alvaro Colom, the ITUC reminded the authorities of the urgent need for the Congress to pass the Law on Nomination Commissions (Ley de Comisiones de Postulación), to ensure the election of an independent and transparent judiciary without political or party political links, and for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to proceed in compliance with the law and to take control and command of the investigating bodies, to guarantee impartial investigations.

During the inauguration of the ITUC conference against impunity in Guatemala, President Colom expressed his political resolve and commitment to fighting for social justice, for genuine rule of law and for an end to impunity in Guatemala. The trade union movement is still waiting to see these promises fulfilled.

“Enough talk!” said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC. “It is time that concrete measures were taken to meet the Guatemalan people’s legitimate demands for social justice, transparency and safety.”