GENEVA (ILO News) - The Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO), Juan Somavia, today urged King Gyanendra of Nepal to "take all necessary steps to ensure the personal safety of the trade union leaders and members of the unions concerned".
In a letter to King Gyanendra, Mr. Somavia expressed "deep concern" about information that a royal decree had suppressed all trade union rights and banned meetings.
The information had been conveyed to the ILO by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), whose Asia-Pacific Regional Organization is currently holding its meeting in Kathmandu.
The Director-General of the ILO referred to indications that top leaders of Nepalese trade unions were under the threat of arrest. These include Mr. Laxman Basnet, of the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), who is a Member of the ILO Governing Body.
The letter reminded that the established ILO position is that emergency legislation aimed at anti-social disruptive elements should not be applied against workers for exercising their legitimate trade union rights, including the right to organize public meetings.
The Director-General expressed his trust that King Gyanendra will take all necessary steps to ensure the personal safety of the trade union leaders and members of the unions concerned.