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Iraq - Union body calls for hostages' release

Iraq - Union body calls for hostages' release

Brussels, 10 September 2004: Three days after writing to the Iraqi Prime Minister ( to demand security guarantees for both Iraqi and foreign workers, many of whom have been abducted in the country, the ICFTU General Secretary has written to the three ICFTU-affiliated national trade union centres, to express "shock at the kidnapping" of two Italian aid workers, Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, and two Iraqis, Ra'ad Ali Abdul Aziz and Mahnaz Bassam, in central Baghdad in broad daylight on 7 September 2004.

In his letter (, Guy Ryder said he shared the Italian unions' concern for their fates and said he appreciated the record of close cooperation between their victims' organizations, "A Bridge to Baghdad" and "INTERSOS", and the Italian trade union movement.

Intersos is a humanitarian aid organisation promoted by the three Italian trade union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL. The aid workers are in Baghdad working on humanitarian programs sponsored through a general fundraising campaign promoted by the three trade unions, other Italian NGOs and social groups, all of which organised a large number of public initiatives against the war in Iraq. Italian unions have stressed their refusal of terrorism and their condemnation of authors of "this crime committed against persons who have been working for peace and against the war".

In a parallel move, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has today called on all its affiliates to "raise their voices in their rejection of terrorism and in support of action by the international community to end violence and bring peace to the Iraqi people". It asked the European institutions and governments to "use all possible diplomatic channels to secure the release of the hostages and to help bring about an end to the tragedy in Iraq".

For the full text of the Italian unions' statement, click here:

For a full text of the ETUC Statement, click here:

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