SASK campaigns with Amnesty
Finland for trade union rights
Helsinki (23.04.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The Trade
union solidarity centre of Finland SASK is campaigning alongside the Finnish
section of Amnesty International for trade union rights. The new campaign
got underway on Monday 22nd April and focuses on the situation in Colombia.
campaign web pages
(in Finnish) there is an appeal to the Colombian president Juan Manuel
Santos. It implores the president to keep the promises of his government to
end anti-union violence and remove the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators.
Colombia is the most
dangerous country in the world when it comes to trade union work. According
to the statistics of the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC last
year 35 trade union activists were murdered in Colombia. Ten people received
death threats, 342 activists reported other threats and 16 were imprisoned
because of their trade union activities.
The international campaign
Justice for Colombia estimates that between January 2007 and June 2012 a
total of 225 trade union activists were killed. That makes up more than half
of all the murdered trade unionists in the world. Virtually nobody is
punished for these murders.
"The Colombian government
must begin to take more effective measures to defend threatened trade union
activists and human rights champions according to their own wishes", says
the acting communication manager of SASK Aleksi Vienonen.
"From Amnesty’s point of
view the trade union activists are defending their human rights", says
policy officer Anu Tuukkanen from the Finnish section of Amnesty
International. "They are threatened because they use the rights guaranteed
in the ILO agreements, like negotiating and organising strikes. The violence
often occurs in connection with such activities."
This is the second time
Amnesty and SASK have undertaken a joint campaign championing trade union
rights. Last year they mounted a similar campaign in support of trade union
activists in Iran. Independent trade unions are not allowed to operate in
Iran and there are union leaders being held as prisoners of conscience.
Work for trade union rights is a natural part of
Amnesty’s work. In 2007 Amnesty International published a report entitled
Hazards at work: Trade unionists under attack in Colombia, and in 2011
issued a report on Iranian trade unionists' struggle for their rights. The
Finnish section of Amnesty International has for many years now had a
special group focusing on trade union rights.