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International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions


International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions

ICFTU OnLine...


Trade unionists tortured in latest act of Mugabe regime's brutality

Brussels, 15 September 2006(ICFTU online): The Zimbabwean authorities
must immediately release the members of the Zimbabwean Council of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), more than a dozen of whom have been tortured and injured
following their arrest on September 13, 2006.

Mr Wellington Chibebe, General Secretary, Mr Lovemore Matombo,
President, and Ms Lucia Matibenga, First Vice President of ZCTU are
amongst those tortured by Zimbabwean authorities. Mr Chibebe has had his
arm broken and both him and Mr Matombo were beaten, sustaining
cranial/facial bruising and other head injuries. Ms Matibenga and other
prisoners have also reported being beaten on the soles of their feet,
having their heads bashed against prison walls and being stamped and
kicked in the head.

They were amongst 250 trade unionists and other civilians, including
approximately 100 women and several infants, arrested nationwide
following a peaceful protest calling for decent wages, action on
Zimbabwe's 1000 per cent inflation rate and better access to life-saving
anti-viral drugs for AIDS sufferers.

"These latest reports of brutality must be condemned by the entire
international community, and the world trade union movement will do
everything within its power to mobile international pressure to put a
stop this reign of terror," Guy Ryder, the General Secretary of the
ICFTU said today.

"History has shown time and time again, that such brutal treatment of
people trying to exercise their democratic rights will simply backfire.
With each act of repression the Mugabe regime is further isolating
itself from the international community and those who continue to pay
the price are the Zimbabwean people," he continued.

"We call on the Zimbabwean government to stop its continuing campaign of
harassment and abuse of trade unionists. Yet again, the Mugabe regime
has failed to fulfill its responsibility under the international
obligations it is party to, namely the ILO Core Labour Standards on
Freedom of Association," Ryder added.

At the latest count, 92 trade unionists remain in custody. They finally
received access to medical attention today despite the fact that some of
them have had eating and hearing problems resulting from their injuries
for the past two days.

Yesterday afternoon, colleagues from the ZCTU and the International
Labour Office in Zimbabwe attempted to visit the prisoners, but were
denied access.

The ICFTU and a number of its affiliates have written to the Zimbabwean
government urging them to release the prisoners and fulfill their legal
obligations. To view the letter visit
http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991225020&Language=EN.

The ICFTU has also written to the ILO Director General urging him to
intervene. To view the letter visit
http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991225019&Language=EN.

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

Ends

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