International Labour Network (Posted by Sian Glaessner) | 13.08.2003 09:46 | World
As the occupying forces continue to fail in their obligations for seuuply the basic needs of Iraq's population (clean water, electricity), the corporate invasion is well underway.
Unless action is taken swiftly, what awaits the population of Iraq is exploitation and abuse by the Big Business that has now appropriated Iraq's key industries for their own private gain in the name of "reconstruction". The Iraqi people can do it themselves!
On Saturday, August 2, at 11:30 p.m., Baghdad local time, U.S. occupation forces arrested Qasim Hadi and fifty-four other Iraqi leaders and members of the Union of the Unemployed in Iraq who had been engaged in a five-day sit-in protest of the treatment of unemployed Iraqi workers by occupation forces and U.S. corporations granted contracts for work in Iraq. We are informed that the detained workers were released only after the intervention of representatives of the United Nations. These were not armed combatants. They were not terrorists. These were unemployed workers peacefully protesting, exercising their democratic right to seek redress for their grievances.
U.S. Labor Against War joins with the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples and the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions to unequivocally condem these arrests. The U.S. cannot claim to be acting in the interests of the Iraqi people with the objective of establishing a democratic government in Iraq while violating internationally recognized labor and human rights of Iraqi workers who seek to exercise their democratic rights to peacefully protest and seek redress for their grievances. The bedrock of any democracy is the right of dissent and the right to seek redress for grievances against the ruling order. One of the principal building blocks of a democratic government and society is the existence and operation of an independent labor movement. Iraq is signatory to more than fifty of the International Labor Organization Conventions on labor rights, at the center of which is the right to organize and to protest treatment and conditions. U.S. and other occupation forces are obligated to respect and honor those Conventions.
These concerned groups call upon the U.S. and other occupation forces to immediately and fully respect all of the rights guaranteed by the ILO Conventions and in addition call for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq of all U.S., British and other combatant forces. The statement they issued runs : “The U.S. and other “Coalition” partners in the invasion of Iraq are morally and legally obligated instead to provide whatever resources are required to meet that country's humanitarian needs and for reconstruction and repair of damages caused by their military actions. In pursuit of these objectives, we have launched an International Campaign for Iraqi Labor Rights. We are committed to support Iraqi workers as they organize their own independent, democratic labor movement free of interference by employers and all external interests. Accordingly, we intend to send an international delegation of labor leaders to Iraq to monitor the observance of labor rights there. Details about this delegation will be forthcoming. For information contact: www.uslaboragainstwar.org