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Attempted Assassination of Peruvian Trade Unionist

Attempted assassination of Peruvian trade union leader

Brussels, 9th July 2004 (ICFTU Online): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has written to President Toledo of Peru, srtongly condemning the attempted assassination of Mario Huamán Rivera, President of the General Workers' Confederation of Peru (CGTP) and General Secretary of the Construction Workers' Federation of Peru (FTCCP), and his family.

The failed attack took place on 6 July, when a flower arrangement sent to Mr. Huamán's home was found to contain a hand grenade. Fortunately, the device failed to explode.

The attempt on Mr. Huamán's life was the culmination of a campaign of intimidation against him, which had earlier included threatening telephone calls. As the ICFTU General Secretary pointed out in his letter to the President, resorting to violence and physical attacks against someone whose only "crime" is to protect workers' interests shows a total disregard for basic human and workers' rights.

The persecution of the trade union leader has taken place against a background of mounting social unrest caused by rising unemployment, lower real wages, and an increase in poverty. The country's trade union movement has become the public face of this protest, calling for a national strike on 14 July to demand changes in the government's economic policies. Trade unions at the national and international level are concerned that the attack on the CGTP leader was related to his role in this popular protest.

The ICFTU wrote to President Toledo on June 23 expressing its concern at the situation in the country and urging him to negotiate with the trade unions to seek a peaceful, constructive solution to the crisis before the July 14 General Strike. However the President has not responded to that appeal.

During the ICFTU Executive Board meeting on 23 and 24 June, ICFTU affiliates and the Global Union Federations unanimously expressed their support for the decision by the Peruvian trade unions to call the national strike if no satisfactory solution is found.

In its latest letter the ICFTU has reiterated its firm support for Peruvian trade unions, and called for a thorough investigation into the attempted assassination of Mario Huamán Rivera to bring those responsible to justice.

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