Free Eritrean union leaders!

Submitted by Janine on 12 May, 2005 - 9:03

From Eric Lee, Labourstart

We have received a report from Geneva regarding the arrests and detention without trial of three trade union leaders in Eritrea. You may remember Eritrea — it is sometimes in the news because of its ongoing conflict with Ethiopia (from which it won its independence several years ago). But what you may not know is that the country is a single-party state which brutally represses dissent.

Two of the union leaders were arrested on 30 March. On 9 April, the head of the Coca-Cola workers’ union was also picked up. It is believed that he was about to lead Coca-Cola workers in a strike to defend their catastrophically falling standard of living. All three men are now believed to be held in a secret security prison in Asmara.

Two of the global union federations (IUF and ITLGWF), as well as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), have issued an urgent action appeal demanding the release of the union leaders.

LabourStart has tracked down an email address for the Eritrean government. We will also be relaying as many of the messages received via fax, direct to the Eritrean government.

It’s now been nearly six weeks since the first two men were arrested. We can only imagine with horror the conditions in which they are being held. Time is running out.

Go here to send letters of protest.

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