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ILO names five countries for serious violations of freedom of association

The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has highlighted five out of 32 cases as the most serious and urgent concerning the right to organize, collective bargaining and social dialogue.

News | 15 November 2012

GENEVA (ILO News) – The ILO has named Argentina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji and Peru – out of a list of 32 cases examined – as the most serious and urgent regarding freedom of association.

The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association examined cases concerning employers’ and trade unions’ rights to organize, collective bargaining and social dialogue.

The ILO supervisory body dealt with violent acts in which four workers died and two others were injured in Argentina. The deaths and injuries occurred in 2011 during the eviction of over 500 workers who were demanding decent housing in the province of Jujuy. The Committee requested the Government to communicate the outcome of the judicial inquiries underway.

It also examined the murder of three trade union leaders, Chea Vichea, Ros Sovannareth and Hy Vuthy, in Cambodia, which happened between 2004 and 2007. Once again, the Committee strongly urged the Government to carry out independent investigations into the assassinations of these union leaders, punish the guilty parties and bring an end to the climate of impunity in the country.

Turning to Ethiopia, the Committee regretted that, four years after its request for registration, the National Teachers Union (NTA) had still not been registered. It strongly urged the Government to ensure that the appropriate authorities register the NTA, in order to fully guarantee the freedom of association rights of civil servants, including teachers in public schools.

The Committee also asked the Government of Fiji to rapidly discuss the return of an ILO Direct Contacts Mission to the country. Last September, the Fijian government had stopped the ILO from carrying out a mission to verify complaints over the lack of freedom of association made by local trade unions.

The Committee called upon the Government to undertake independent investigations without delay into the allegations of physical assault, harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members.

It also considered the case of Peru which concerns allegations of murder of a trade union leader in 2008 in clashes with the police during a protest in the mining sector. As it had not been possible to identify the perpetrators of the act, the Committee asked for further investigations to clarify the facts.

Finally, the ILO supervisory body reviewed the measures taken by the Government of Belarus to implement the 2004 recommendations of an ILO Commission of Inquiry. The Committee deeply regretted that the Government had once again failed to reply to the Committee’s previous recommendations and to the new allegations of freedom of association violations. It urged the Government to be more cooperative in the future.

The ILO body examined 29 other cases and noted with satisfaction that effect had been given to its recommendations in cases related to the reinstatement of trade union members in Colombia and Peru, and the registration of a trade union in Algeria.

Tags: collective bargaining, social dialogue, trade union rights, freedom of association, ILO Committee on Freedom of Association

Unit responsible: Department of Communication (DCOMM)

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