The continued absence of democracy and human rights, including trade union rights, in Nepal today provoked strong protest from the trade union movement. To mark the March 22 International Day of Action on Nepal, the ICFTU, the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), their affiliates, and Global Union Federations met with Nepalese Ambassadors in country capitals, demonstrated outside the South Asian country’s diplomatic mission in India and sent protest letters to representatives of the Nepalese authorities across the world. United in message, the trade union movement delivered the statement that the King must restore democracy and human rights, and the respect for trade union rights.
In the 49 days since the royal dismissal of government (February 1, 2005), the Nepalese trade union movement has been the victim of a stiff crackdown by authorities on any expression of human rights. Several trade unionists have been arrested, some of the detained are in poor health, and other labor activists have been forced into hiding, for fear of arrest.
Speaking to the Nepalese Ambassador at a March 22 meeting in Brussels, ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder said “the Nepalese authorities must restore democracy, trade union rights and release unfairly detained trade unionists. There can be no justification for the removal of trade union freedoms”.
“It is in this repressive and undemocratic climate that we are calling on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to suspend their lending to Nepal. We do not believe that the current situation allows for the funds to be used in the way that they were intended”, said Ryder at the meeting in Brussels.
A simultaneous meeting was held at the Nepalese diplomatic mission in Geneva, attended by the ICFTU and Laxman Basnet, President of the Nepalese Trade Union Congress (NTUC). Whilst the international trade union movement met with Nepalese Ambassadors in the Belgian and Swiss capitals, the Nepalese embassy in London refused to meet with the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The Nepalese representation in New Delhi was a focal point of protest today as hundreds of members of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) gathered outside to protest against the repressive measures introduced by the King since February 1, 2005.
The ICFTU affiliates, including those in Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the ICFTU’s regional organizations, wrote to Nepalese diplomatic missions in their countries to voice their opposition to the royal assumption of power and its consequences. (M2 Communications, Ltd.)