ITUC OnLine – October 13, 2011


October 13, 2011


BURMA:  Seven Trade Unionists Released from Prison

Brussels, 13 October 2011 (ITUC OnLine): The International Trade Union Confederation welcomes the recent release from prison of 7 trade unionists (*). However, much more remains to be done. Burma’s regime recently announced an amnesty for 6,359 prisoners; yet only 200 of them were political prisoners serving lengthy sentences in prisons across the country. Many trade union and labour activists remain behind bars serving decades long sentences. The ITUC calls upon the Burmese authorities to release all political prisoners immediately, including trade union activists.

While taking note of some small steps forward, the ITUC urges the international community not to let up the pressure, just as that pressure is finally bearing some fruit.  Today in Burma, the army continues to exact forced labour, recruit child soldiers and confiscate land from the population in several states in Burma, and in some it appears to have worsened in 2011.

Full respect of Convention 87, protecting the trade union’s freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, is still an issue in Burma.

The ITUC supports the statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar: “many serious human rights issues remain and they need to be addressed”. Indeed, much more needs to be done to address fundamental violations of rights and act against impunity in the legal system, in law and in practice.

(*) The trade unionists released from prison today are:  Myo Aung Thant, Ms. Aye Thi Khaing, Ms. Aye Chan, Ms. Yin Kyi, Ms. Than Than Htay, Thein Lwin Oo, Than Win and Ye Lwin Htoo.


GUATEMALA:  Another SITRABI Member Assassinated

Brussels, 13 October 2011 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has joined with its Guatemalan affiliates, the CUSG, CGTG and UNSITRAGUA, in condemning the murder of Henry Anibal Marroquin Orellana, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union SITRABI, on 24 September in the municipality of Amates, in the department of Izabal.

This new  killing is one more in the long list of murders targeting trade union leaders and members. His death is mourned by the Guatemalan trade union movement and SITRABI, and has left yet another Guatemalan family suffering the pain of losing a loved one.

“Yet another member of the Guatemalan trade union family has been killed on account of his trade union activities, and those responsible will most probably never be brought to justice,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “This impunity must end now! Impunity must not continue to abet those who exploit it! The Guatemala authorities, which pledged to take the steps necessary to end the violence against trade unionists at the II ITUC Conference against Impunity, must fulfil their commitments and responsibility,” insisted Sharan Burrow.

In a letter to President Colom, the ITUC urged the Guatemalan authorities, and in particular the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to take every action necessary to guarantee the right to life as well as respect for the core ILO conventions, and to bring an end to the reign of impunity, by strengthening the rule of law. 


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