From Wed Jun 5 05:00:05 2002
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 2002 10:29:15 +0200
From: “Luc Demaret” <>
Subject: ILO: Workers' Group denounces anti-union repression world-wide

ILO Workers' Group denounces anti-union repression world-wide

International Labour Organization (ILO) Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV), ACTRAV Info, 5 June 2002

Geneva, June 5 2002 (ACTRAV Info): Belarus, Colombia, Ethiopia, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan and Venezuela were singled out today for anti-union repression by more than 500 workers' representatives from 175 countries attending this year's annual session of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

A dossier prepared for the ILO's International Labour Conference describes mass killings of trade unionists in Colombia (185 killed in 2001 only), attempts to suppress independent trade unions in Belarus, arrest of labour activists in Ethiopia and Burma, forced labour in Sudan and interference by the governments in trade unions elections in Venezuela.

“All these facts were consigned in details in special paragraphs of last year's report by the ILO Committee on the application of standards, but little if any has been done by the governments concerned to abide by the recommendations of the UN agency. In Belarus and Colombia the situation is even worse than last year”, deplored Lord Brett, chair of the ILO Workers' Group. More than 20 countries will also be called to appear before the ILO Committee during the conference this year.

Special paragraphs are designed by the ILO's Conference Committee on the application of standards to signal “consistent and serious” violations of labour rights.

On behalf of the Workers' Group, Lord Brett invited workers' delegates at the Conference to lobby government and employers' delegations and to increase pressure on the countries concerned “to make things change”.

“The release last month of Taye Worldesmiate a leader of the Teachers' Association of Ethiopia who had been detained since 1996, is proof that moral pressure by the ILO can work, but much depend on us to make it work through campaigns and solidarity action”, Brett told workers delegates.

The Workers' Group also denounced the continued detention of some 30 union leaders in the Republic of Korea, complaining that “our team will not take part in the world cup” in a poster showing a football team with the photos of the imprisoned trade unionists.

The International Labour Conference is the annual assembly and main decision-making body of the UN=s International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is attended by some 3.000 delegates and advisers representing governments, employers= organisations and trade unions from 175 countries.