Restore Constitutional Rule in Mali

Members of Mali’s armed forces staged a military coup on Thursday 22 March 2012 against the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré.

Not content with undermining constitutional legality in the country, considered to be one of the most democratic in West Africa over the last twenty years, the troops also took hostage members of the government and the heads of a number of institutions.

According to the reports received, three persons lost their lives in the coup, around thirty were injured and taken to hospital.

The overthrow also triggered looting and vandalism in the capital, Bamako, as well as an armed attack on the Labour Exchange, where the head office of the UNTM trade union centre is based. The group ransacked the general secretary’s office, taking all the IT equipment and other items belonging to the organisation before setting fire to the premises.

On Friday 23 March 2012, as members of the UNTM gathered at the Labour Exchange to assess the damages, another armed group stormed into the courtyard and violently arrested the general secretary, Siaka Diakité, along with another colleague. Their whereabouts is presently unknown.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its 175 million members across the world firmly condemn this military coup in Mali and are calling for an immediate return to constitutional rule in the country.
The ITUC also condemns the attack on the Labour Exchange and the arbitrary arrest and abduction of UNTM leaders, which constitute a grave violation of the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation ratified by Mali. It holds the armed group responsible for whatever may happen to these trade unionists and demands that their safety and physical integrity be fully assured.

The ITUC reminds the military junta that these abuses cannot prevail and that it will use all its influence to denounce such practices to regional and international institutions. It is currently preparing to file a complaint against the military junta with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding the violation of Convention 87 on freedom of association and the protection of trade union rights.

The ITUC reaffirms its solidarity in these testing moments with its colleagues from the UNTM and the Malian people as a whole, and calls on all of its affiliates to denounce this intolerable abuse of power.