Farm workers massacred in Guatemala

The ITUC has joined with Guatemala’s trade union, indigenous and campesino organisations in strongly condemning the massacre that took place between 14 and 15 May at the Finca Los Cocos farm in the municipality of La Libertad, in which 29 campesinos, including two women and three minors aged 13, 15 and 16, were murdered.

The ITUC has called on the government of Guatemala to fully assume its role as the guardian of democracy and the rule of law, ensuring the full implementation of the recommendations issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala following the mission carried out in 2010. Protecting the lives of all Guatemalan citizens is a basic duty of the state.

"The ITUC has urged the Public Prosecutor’s Office to immediately launch a full and effective investigation ensuring that those responsible for this monstrous crime are identified and brought to justice," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "It is unacceptable that most of the crimes in Guatemala go unpunished."

The ITUC also insisted on the imperative need for the CICIG (International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala) to fulfil its mandate to help strengthen democracy in the country, and to conduct an enquiry into the involvement of parallel groups and clandestine security forces in this massacre.
In a letter to the Guatemalan authorities, the ITUC urged President Álvaro Colom to take every step necessary to end the systematic violence against trade union, campesino and indigenous organisations and to ensure respect for the core ILO Conventions ratified by Guatemala.