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Message-ID: <354FB619.12DC1636@yorku.ca>
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 21:00:09 -0400
Reply-To: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Sam Lanfranco <lanfran@YORKU.CA>
Organization: DKProj
Subject: Urgent Action re: Guatemala

> Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 11:40:26 -0800
> From: ctfca@web.net (Christian Task Force on Central America)
> Subject: Urgent Action Guatemala

Death threats against municipal workers in Guazacapan

Christian Task Force on Central America, Urgent Action Guatemala, Monday 4 May 1998, 11:40:26 -0800

Dear Friends:

The Latin American Commission for the Rights and Freedoms of Workers and Peoples, a member of the World Organization Against Torture, has sent us the following urgent message expressing its concern for the lives and the physical safety of the Municipal Workers Union of Guazacapan, Guatemala (SINTRAMGUASR).

On April 6 1998, the workers, particularly the members of the Executive Commmittee and of the Consultative Committee, of SINTRAMGUASR received anonymous death threats. These threats had their origin in the municipal workers' insistence that their rights be respected. Since February, the workers had not received their pay cheques. The Guazacapan Municipal Workers Union has been engaged in unsucessful negotiations with the Municipal Council in an effort to resolve this situation.

Although the workers and the union have conducted themselves in a law abiding, peaceful manner, the municipal authorities and especially the Mayor have closed the doors on negotiation. Furthermore, the unionized workers, and in particular their leaders, have been the butt of repeated insults.


Please write to the Guatemalan government * reminding them that municipal workers have the right to be paid for their work and the municipality the obligation to pay them. * The response given to the workers who asked for their wages is illegal and unacceptable. *asking them to investigate why the worker's salaries have not been paid, and give absolute guarantees for the lives, physical security, and freedom of the leaders and members of SINTRAMGUASR.

* Please request the government to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the death threats against the members of SINTRAMGUASR, in order that those found to be responsible can be brought to trial and punished according to criminal and civil law.

*Please stress to the Guatemalan government the imperative need for all necessary measures to be taken to assure the respect of the basic human rights, including labour rights, that are enshrined in Guatemalan law and in international law.

Please write to the Canadian government asking them to convey to the Guatemalan the importance that Canada attaches to respect for the rights of organized workers. Please suggest to the Canadian government that incidents such as this are an indication that there is reason to share the concerns expressed by Guatemalan nongovernmental organizations to the effect that the decision of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights to end its nearly-twenty-year review of human rights observance in Guatemala may be premature. Accordingly, please ask the Canadian government to encourage the Guatemalan government to follow the recommendation of the Commission regarding the desirability of Guatemala's renewing the current contract (between the Commission and the Guatemalan government) for the provision of advisory services on human rights issues.

Appeals to:

Ing. Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen
Presidente de la Republica de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional, Zona I
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
FAX: 011 502 251 5667 or 011 502 251 5368
e-mail: alvaroarzu@guate.connect.com
or AlvaroArzu@guate.net

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
FAX: 613 996 3443