Guatemala: Trade Unions Against Impunity

The second Conference against Impunity in Guatemala opened Thursday 21st July to the news of the assassination of yet another trade union Sister.

This tragic event highlights the importance of a renewed commitment of the international community to building an effective strategy to tackle this unacceptable attack against the most fundamental human and trade union rights of working women and men. Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous countries to exercise trade union rights.

“Until Core labour standards and Convention 169 are implemented and fully respected, prosecuted where they are breached, and until there is an end to the massacres, then we know that life will not be as we choose: decent work, a livelihood that you can count on, and safe work where people can go every day knowing they will return to their families,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, in her opening speech to the Conference.

The Conference, organised by the ITUC and TUCA, and supported by the ILO and Solidarité Mondiale, is attended by trade unionists from the region and from Europe, as well as many representatives of international organisations, and Guatemalan government and civil society.

A central theme of various interventions in the Conference has been the need for security and democracy for the effective exercise of trade union rights as an important contributing key component of social and economic development. A number of participants stressed that governments must not reject or abrogate their responsibility in insuring that the rights of workers and citizens be respected.

The Conference will agree a Plan of Action, reflecting the priorities of the Guatemalan trade unions. Sharan Burrow committed in her message the full support of the ITUC and the international trade union movement.

For more information, contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 02 04.