Complaint concerning non-observance by Guatemala of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87), made by delegates to the 101st Session (2012) of the Int. Labour Conference under art. 26 of the ILO Constitution

Statement by the Government of Norway

Thank you, Chair. I’m also speaking on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

1.             Human rights are universal. No one should be deprived of his or her fundamental rights and freedoms. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of every state to promote and protect human rights and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination.

2.             Freedom of Association is part of the foundation on which all other democratic rights and freedoms rest. It is essential that the activities of trade unions are not unjustifiably curtailed, and trade unionists should under no circumstance face harassment, intimidation and certainly not death.

3.              Our countries advocate the universal ratification and implementation of the eight ILO fundamental conventions. We believe that compliance with these, including Convention number 87 on The Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, is fundamental to achieving sustainable development and lasting security for all.

4.              The persistent threats experienced by trade unionists in Guatemala demonstrate clear infringements of their Freedom of Association. We are deeply concerned about the situation and about the impunity of anti-unionist activity.

5.              We call on the Government of Guatemala to respect its commitments regarding individual freedom and public participation, the rule of law and legal protection, and equality and equal opportunity for all, which must be fundamental principles in all societies. We urge the Government to redouble its efforts to ensure that the Freedom of Association for trade unionists is respected and their protection is guaranteed.

6.             We welcome the road map from October 2013 committed to by the Government. We strongly urge this important political commitment to be followed by full and effective implementation at all levels of government and by all relevant decision-making bodies.  

7.              We support the emphasis in the document on urgent action when it comes to the investigation, prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators of the murders of trade unionists as well as other acts of violence, the need for measures to ensure the protection of trade union officials and members, the adoption of reforms to align national legislation with Convention 87, and on awareness-raising on Freedom of Association.

8.             Finally, we welcome the important role played by the ILO and the Country Office in Guatemala. We encourage the Government of Guatemala and the social partners to deepen and strengthen their engagement with the ILO to ensure implementation of the road map, including the anticipated high level mission to the country. 

9.             To conclude, we support the draft decision and look forward to receiving updated information on the progress made at the 324th Session of the GB (June 2015).

Thank you, Chair.