Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Letter from TUC regarding Honduras

Rt Hon. David Miliband MP,
Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street Whitehall
London SW1A 2AH

issued 2 Nov 2009

Dear David
Continuing crisis in Honduras
On behalf of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) I ask you to increase the pressure on the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti to restore democracy and to strongly condemn the series of human rights violations that have taken place since the 28 June coup d'état removed President Manuel Zelaya Rosales from office.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) which represents 170 million workers in 158 countries through its 316 national affiliates unanimously passed a resolution at its most recent General Council meeting in Berlin (attached) calling for the following actions to be taken;
suspension of Honduras's European Union GSP+ trade preferences until the country returns to genuine democratic control;
financial aid and all other financial co-operation with the de facto regime to be halted immediately; and non-cooperation by the international community with the bogus election called for 29 November, including a refusal to send election observers.
In relation to GSP+ we urge the British government to publicly support and push for a suspension of Honduras' trade preferences granted under this EU scheme.
In the 100 days since the coup, 20 people have been killed, 12 of whom were trade unionists, over 3000 people have been arrested, and the de facto regime has committed countless serious violations of human and trade union rights, including the suppression of the Honduran people's fundamental right to freedom of association and the closing down of media loyal to the legitimate government.
We ask you to call once again on the de facto government there to engage meaningfully in the talks held under the auspices of the OAS. Such talks must immediately result in the legitimate president, Manuel Zelaya, returned to office, with a view to enabling the holding of free and fair elections and bringing an end the coup. The coup is something we hoped had been confined to history in Latin America. If it is not resolved it could set a very dangerous precedent for the future.
Yours sincerely
General Secretary
Berlin General Council Meeting

ITUC Resolution
The 5th ITUC General Council meeting in Berlin, 6 - 8 October 2009:
CONDEMNS the military coup in Honduras of 28 June 2009, resulting in the
detention and expulsion of the legitimate President of the country José
Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and the adoption by the authors of the coup of
a series of dictatorial measures, which violate fundamental democratic
rights which are enshrined in the Honduran Constitution and in
international law;
DENOUNCES the killing of innocent Honduran citizens and of 12 trade union
leaders and militants by the illegitimate de facto regime and its
continued use of torture, violence, incarceration, denial of freedom of
speech, assembly and association, violation of international diplomatic
convention at the Brazilian Embassy and the range of other actions
aimed at repressing legitimate dissent and preventing a return to
democracy and the rule of law;
DEMANDS that the regime immediately and unconditionally withdraw from their
illegal occupancy of all positions of political and administrative
authority to ensure the return of President Zelaya to the Presidency of
the country, that they guarantee the security and physical safety of
President Zelaya and all Hondurans and that they suspend without
delay all the repressive measures which they have introduced;
PLEDGES the continued and fullest support of the international trade union
movement to the ITUC´s affiliates CUTH, CTH and CGT, which
condemned the coup immediately it took place, and which continue, at
the front of the alliance of democratic forces from diverse sectors and
social movement, to resist the illegitimate regime and campaign for
the return of democracy;
CALLS UPON The governments in the region and worldwide, and the international
institutions including the United Nations, Organisation of American
States, European Union and others which can bring effective pressure
to bear, to act with determination against the violation of fundamental
democratic rights in Honduras, to ensure that full authority is
returned to the legitimate government of President Zelaya;
CALLS UPON the Honduran employers to respect ILO core labour standards, in
particular Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of
the Right to Organise and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and
Collective Bargaining;
INSISTS that the intellectual and material authors of the coup are brought to
justice for the crimes they have committed in relation to the launching
of the coup and the events which have followed;
SUPPORTS the Honduran democracy movement in its demand for the convocation
of a constituent assembly to resolve the social, economic and political
problems which the country faces;
RESOLVES - to intensify international trade union actions in solidarity with the
Honduran trade union movement and people, including through the
provision of material assistance;
- promote international action, in coordination with the Global Union
Federations, to increase international support for action to end the
crisis in Honduras;
- to continue to closely monitor events in the country, and maintain
support for the Honduran trade union movement in its quest for a
resolution to the crisis which is founded on democracy, social justice
and the rights of Honduran working people;
- to be ready to send a mission of solidarity with the people and
workers of Honduras that have so bravely fought the military coup
and to witness first hand the human and trade union right
situation in the country when required and appropriate;
CALLS UPON - the European Union to suspend the GSP+ trade preferences to
Honduras as a further means of pressure to obtain an immediate
and total return to democracy in that country;
- the International community not to send financial aid or observers
to the elections of 29 November and not to recognize their outcome;
- to end immediately all financial cooperation with the de facto
government; and
HOPES that the talks that President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto
government have agreed to begin next week under the auspices of the
Organization of American States bring a solution to the crisis. For this
dialogue to bear fruit, all coercive measures taken by Micheletti -the
current state of siege; the decree restricting freedom of movement,
assembly and of the press; and the closing down of two media loyal to
Zelaya, Radio Globo and Channel 36 - must be lifted.