There's Blood in Your Coffee

Monday, October 12, 2009

ILO mission asks RP gov't: Denounce rights abuses

(Written by Aries Rufo Thursday, 01 October 2009)
Short of indicting the government, a high-level fact-finding mission of the International Labor Organization (ILO) asked the Arroyo administration on Thursday to categorically denounce the killings of workers and the rampant violations of trade union rights. “A statement of the highest level of the Government instructing all government actors to make special efforts to ensure that their actions do not infringe upon the basic civil liberties of trade unionists could go a long way in reassuring the workers that have brought their complaints to the ILO,” a statement from the high-level mission said. Mission member Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director of the ILO international labor standards department, said this would send the message that the government “does not condone” human rights violations and the killings of workers. She added “it will help clarify allegations of the impunity” of abductions, harassments and extra-judicial killings of laborers, which the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) brought to the attention of the ILO two years ago. The mission arrived September 22 and concluded its task Thursday. Facts gathered for ILO higher bodies: Members of the mission interviewed families and relatives of labor leaders killed allegedly by the military. They also went to the economic export zones to look into alleged violations of labor standards and laws, and inquired into the labor problem in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Government officials and legislators were also interviewed. Other members of the ILO mission are Karen Curtis, deputy director-general of the ILO International Labor Standards department, and Tim de Meyer, International Labor Standards Specialists of the ILO sub-regional office for East Asia. The ILO, the only tripartite body of the United Nations composed of government, workers and employers, earlier requested the Arroyo government to accept the high-level mission to probe the alleged labor rights violations. The government initially rejected the request. But in this year’s International Labor Conference, the government finally relented. Doumbia-Henry said the team was able to gather facts and information, and will submit its report to the ILO supervisory bodies on Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to Organize Convention to make the final assessment.

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