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ICFTU condemns hostage tragedy in North Ossetia

ICFTU condemns hostage tragedy in North Ossetia

Brussels, 7 September 2004 (ICFTU Online): The ICFTU has condemned last Friday's (3 September 2004) massacre which led to the death and injury of hundreds of people - mainly children, teachers and workers - following the hostage taking at the Beslan N°1 school in North Ossetia. The world's largest trade union organisation said that there is no justification for such mass loss of life, regardless of the cause. "It is unacceptable and intolerable that those responsible for hostage taking, whoever they may be, should knowingly gamble with the risk of so great a tragedy".

The ICFTU, reiterating its statement of 2 September 2004, fervently condemned all hostage taking as well as all acts of terror specifically targeting civilians, whether in Ossetia, Chechnya or anywhere else in the world.

Calling for the Ossetian and Russian authorities to provide a clear explanation of how the situation came about, the ICFTU spoke of the need to examine the extent to which this bloodbath could have been prevented.

The international labour movement recalled that the hostage crisis is another episode in a catalogue of attacks in the Russian Federation, including the explosion of two planes departing from Moscow on 24 August 2004, which claimed the lives of 90 passengers. The ICFTU expressed deep concern at this seemingly endless spiral of violence, underlining that force alone cannot put an end to violence, unless it is backed by a strengthening of the rule of law and serious efforts to break a cycle of indiscriminate violence and terrorism.

Conveying its sincerest condolences to all those in Ossetia and the rest of Russia who have been struck by this tragedy, the ICFTU, together with its Russian affiliates the FNPR, VKT and KTR, expressed its deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to all those who lost a child, relative, friend or colleague in the tragedy.

The ICFTU represents 148 million workers in 234 affiliated organisations in 152 countries and territories. The ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions:

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