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Anti Union repression is back in Zimbabwe

International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions

Anti Union repression is back in Zimbabwe

Brussels, 16 August 2006 (ICFTU OnLine): The International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions condemns in the strongest possible terms the arrest
yesterday, 15 August 2006, of M. Wellington Chibebe, General Secretary
of its affiliated organisation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU). It has also reported the case to the International Labour Office
for appropriate action.

M. Chibebe was arrested at a roadblock and detained at Waterfalls Police
station as he was travelling by car from Masvingo with his family. He
was stopped at a roadblock near Waterfalls, where the Police demanded to
search his car, supposedly in order to look for cash. The Government is
currently campaigning to prevent currency speculation while it is
conducting a major monetary reform purportedly aiming at fighting
hyperinflation, which currently stands at over 1000%.

At first, Chibebe was accused of resisting a police search. According to
ZCTU legal sources, however, the police later deliberately changed the
charges to common assault against a police officer so as to make the
issue more serious, given his profile.

The ICFTU strongly condemns this arbitrary arrest, which is the latest
in a continuous pattern of harassment and repression of Zimbabwe's
independent trade union movement. In addition, it also deplores the
method s chosen by the government to address the country's financial
crisis, which victimises workers and other citizens by confiscating
their possessions instead of addressing the root causes of Zimbabwe's
dramatic economic situation. Such confiscations are of course illegal
and are in the process of being challenged in the courts.


In a letter to President Robert Mugabe,
http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991224921&Language=EN,
the ICFTU has called for an intervention by his Government in order to
secure the immediate and unconditional release of Wellington Chibebe and
the dropping of all charges against him. It also called on the
authorities to order an immediate cessation of repressive measures
against the ZCTU, its members, activists, leaders and sympathisers.

Meanwhile, the ICFTU has also written to the Director-General of the
UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO), asking him to intervene
personally with the Zimbabwe Government in order to secure Chibebe's
release.

As of today, 16hrs CET, Chibebe was still detained at Waterfalls Police
Station.

Here you will find an interview of Wellington Chibebe released by the
ICFTU in June 2006:
http://www.icftusurvey.org/audio_video/clips/zimbabwe_en.htm

The ICFTU represents 155 million workers in 241 affiliated organisations
in 156 countries and territories: http://www.icftu.org ICFTU is also a
partner in Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org

Ends

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