By Our Correspondent in Mogadishu.
The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU), as the largest independent trade union federation and represents the voices and aspirations of its 149,000 members
in the country expresses shock and anger about the unlawful dissolution of the Sudan Workers Trade Union Federation (SWTUF), sector unions and other professional associations.
In a protest letter to H.E. Dr. Abdalla Hamdok the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan through the: Embassy of Sudan, Hodan District, dated August 5, 2021, (FESTU) General Secretary Mr Omar Faruk Osman said they are incensed of the repeated violent actions by Sudanese government.
He said:” Sudanese police and other security forces have unleashed despicable actions such as raiding the SWTUF’s offices, seizing property, banning their leaders, affiliates, and the Sudan Journalists Union from entering the offices.
Mr Faruk said FESTU aligns itself with the statement made by the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) on behalf of the Horn of the Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HACTU) and its affiliated national trade union organizations in eight (8) IGAD countries.
He said the ongoing government-sanctioned actions are in gross violation of a number of international treaties and displays a flagrant disregard for the rights of workers. “Article 20 (1) of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” This provides that anyone, in particular workers, must enjoy the right to gather publicly or privately and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.
Mr Faruk said Freedom of Association is also protected under Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that Africa has echoed sentiments in its own frameworks that have been designed and endorsed by African leaders and which are intended to restore and develop our countries
He said:” The right to Freedom of Association is guaranteed under Article 10 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and Articles 12(3), 27(2) and 28 of the African.”
The Somali trade union federation reminded the government of Sudan of its obligation
to workers under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98 on the Right to Association and the Right to Organise which Sudan ratified in 1957.
“The action to suppress and silence the work of SWTUF is a serious and illegal
action in the eyes of the international community, and is in contravention of several
national pieces of legislation designed to promote and protect workers’ rights,” he said.
Mr Faruk said in any society, trade unions represent the voices of some of the most marginalized groups, people on whose backs profit are made and development is achieved.
He said: The voices of Sudanese workers must be heard and therefore we strongly call for the work and structures of SWTUF to be re-established and allowed to operate without political interference.
FESTU calls on Sudanese government to swiftly end the ongoing de-legitimization
campaign against SWTUF and to respect African and International laws that respect human rights and the rule of law.
The statement is copied to African Union Commission (AUC),. African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR),. Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC),. African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC Africa), the Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HECTU) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO)■