Pakistan Labour Federation calls for release of Colombian trade unionist

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Pakistan Labour Federation calls for release of Colombian trade unionist

The Pakistan Labour Federation (PLF) are demanding the immediate release from prison of Colombian Trade Union Leader, Huber Ballesteros.

Mr Ballesteros who was arrested on Sunday 25 August, and accused of “rebellion” and financing terrorism”.

This is the clear-cut violations of ILO Conventions and UN Fundamental Rights of Workers.

We believe that Mr Ballesteros has been jailed for his political beliefs and his Trade Union activism rather than for any crime.

Mr Ballesteros is an elected member of the CUT National Executive, a leader of the FENSUAGRO Agricultural workers’ Trade Union, a Leader of the Patriotic March social and political movement, as well as a spokesperson and negotiator in the current wave of strikes affecting Colombia.

We believe that Mr Ballesteros is innocent and that his detention is a severe violation of human rights.

That a senior and internationally respected trade unionist such as Mr Ballesteros can be arrested in the midst of large scale strikes and social protest which have been brutally repressed by state forces shows that your Government does not truly respect the right to protest, and does not respect the legitimate right of Trade Unionists to struggle for improvements to workers’ lives.

Furthermore, within the framework of the peace talks currently being held in Havana, violations such as these, which demonstrate persecution of the political opposition, cast doubt on your administration’s commitment to democracy and human rights.

We therefore urge you to take the necessary steps to release Mr Ballesteros immediately and cease the criminalization of social and political protest.

by Haji Muhammad Saeed Arian

Founder/Secretary General
Pakistan Labour Federation (PLF)
Affiliated with World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)

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