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Burundi - release of arrested trade union leaders

Burundi - release of arrested trade union leaders

Brussels, 6 October 2004, (ICFTU Online): Following its campaign to call for their release, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) today welcomed the freeing of the two Burundi trade union leaders, Claver Hajayandi and Célestin Nsavyimana, after several days of detention.

The two had been held following an address before a workers' meeting in which they reportedly criticised government plans to submit a new draft constitution to a national referendum. The detention of Hajayandi's and Nsavyimana's, President and Treasurer of the Confederation of Burundi's Labour Unions (COSYBU) respectively, was the subject of a recent ICFTU letter to Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye in which it called for their release, highlighting that their captivity contravened human rights and trade union rights, including the right to free speech, and was a curtailment the trade union organisation's freedom to analyse national political developments when workers' interests were at stake.

Following their release on 30th September 2004, the two union leaders have met with the Burundi President. The ICFTU said it saw the meeting as an encouraging start to improving social and labour relations in the central African country. However, the ICFTU is now urging the authorities to immediately return the union's computer hard disk, seized when police stormed COSYBU's premises on the day of the arrest (24th September 2004).

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