sábado, 18 de julio de 2009

17 July 2009. For immediate release Honduras ship action declared

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today called for all its union members to oppose the coup in Honduras by focusing protests on the Honduran merchant fleet.

The global union organisation, which represents 656 unions worldwide with four and a half million members, has made the call as its latest move to defend democracy in the coup-stricken Central American nation, and in support of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) condemnation of the military takeover. The action call is likely to affect the loading and unloading of the 650 ships flying the Honduran flag, which the ITF considers a flag of convenience – a low cost cosmetic ship registration by companies with no link to the country and no intention of employing its citizens onboard.

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft stated: “We have to put real pressure on the Honduran military to allow the country to revert to democracy. We are therefore calling on our member unions to consider taking lawful action to defend the rights of the citizens of Honduras. That is likely to include protests that centre on Honduran ships. All such actions will be peaceful, will respect the rights of the seafarers on the ships, but will send a clear message to those in authority – for now – in Honduras, that the outside world does not accept their seizure of power.”

Following the coup the ITF mobilised trade unionists in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, after its member unions within Honduras asked it to help them by organising peaceful demonstrations at its borders with the three neighbouring countries. The Federation has also sent a message to the OAS Secretary General and the President of the Honduran Congress to declare the military’s action illegal and indefensible, and issued an urgent action alert to its member trade unions asking for their support in backing those trying to reestablish democracy in the country. The alert also mobilises the ITF’s worldwide membership to protest against the illegal grab of power and seek the support of their own governments.

ITF Inter-Americas Regional Secretary Antonio Rodriguez Fritz commented: “The situation in Honduras is bad and getting worse, with violent military attacks on demonstrations, two trade unionists killed and others in hiding from arrest. We’re also fearful of the future, based on the experience of the 1970s and 80s, when similar economic and military groupings used death squads to repress dissent and murder trade unionists.”

He continued: “The Organization of American States has made itself clear. It condemned the Coup and called for the reinstallation of democracy and has now suspended Honduras from membership.”


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