October 25, 2009 in columns
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
On June 28, 2007, the KMU received the report of the ILO on Case No. 2528. Here are some of the points raised in the report:
The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association made the following recommendations:
(a) “The Committee deplores the gravity of the allegations made in the case and the fact that more than a decade after the filing of the last complaint on similar allegations, inadequate progress has been made by the Government with regard to putting an end to killings, abductions, disappearances and other serious human rights violations which can only reinforce a climate of violence and insecurity and have an extremely damaging effect on exercise of trade union rights.
(b) The Committee requests the Government to:
(i) keep it informed of the progress of the investigation to be carried out by the special joint fact-finding body concerning the killings of trade union leaders and members and, in particular, steps taken to investigate the murders allegedly by the complainant which are listed in Appendix I. The Committee firmly trusts that the investigation and trials will proceed without delay and in full independence, so that all responsible parties may be identified and punished before the competent courts as soon as possible and a climate of impunity be avoided;
(ii) establish an independent judicial inquiry and proceedings before the competent courts as soon as possible with regard to the allegations of abductions and disappearances of trade union leaders and members which are listed in Appendix II with a view to shedding full light onto relevant facts an circumstances, and to determine where responsibilities lie, punish the guilty parties and prevent the repetition of similar events;
(iii) keep it informed of progress made in this respect.
(c) Noting that the Government is under a responsibility to take all necessary measures to have the guilty parties identified and punished – in particular by ensuring that witnesses, who are crucial for the successful identification and prosecution of suspects, are effectively protected – and to successfully prevent the repetition of human rights violations, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures without delay to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the Melo Commission with regard to: (i) the reinforcement of the Witness Protection Program; (ii) legislation to require police and military forces and other government officials to maintain strict chain-of-command responsibility with respect to extrajudicial killings and other offences committed by personnel under their command, control or authority; and (iii) orientation and training of the armed forces.
(d) Deeply regretting the involvement of the army and police in ending the strike in the Hacienda Luisita incident which claimed the lives of at least seven trade union leaders and members and led to the injury of 70 others, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures so as to have an independent investigation carried out into this incident, with a view to identifying and punishing those responsible without further delay, It also requests the Government to give adequate instructions to the law enforcement authorities so as to eliminate the danger entailed by the use of excessive violence when controlling demonstrations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect
(e) Expressing concern at the prolonged presence of the army inside workplaces which is liable to have an intimidating effect on the workers wishing to engage in trade union activities and to create an atmosphere of mistrust which is hardly conducive to harmonious industrial relations, the Committee requests the Government to take measures, including the issuance of appropriate instructions, to bring to an end prolonged military presence inside workplaces.
(f) The Committee requests the Government to give appropriate instructions so as to ensure that any emergency measures aimed at national security do not prevent in any way the exercise of legitimate trade union rights and activities, including strikes, by all trade unions irrespective of their philosophical or political orientation, in climate of complete security. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.
(g) The Committee requests the Government to give specific instructions without delay so as to ensure the strict observance of due process guarantees in the context of any surveillance and interrogation operations by the army and police in a way that guarantees that the rights of workers’ organizations can be exercised in a climate that is free from violence, pressure or threats of any kind against the leaders and members of these organizations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.
(h) The Committee requests the Government to provide its comments in respect of allegations of harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members affiliated to the KMU.
i) The Committee requests the Government to communicate the texts of any judgements handed down in the cases of Crispin Beltran, long time KMU leader, as well as five members of the NFSW who were arrested, and to ensure that all relevant information is gathered in an independent manner so as to shed full light on their situation and the circumstances surrounding their arrest. Should it be determined by the court that they were arrested in relation to trade union activities, the Committee requests the Government to take the necessary measures that they are immediately released.” #
(Next week, part 3: The Committee on Applications of Standards also discussed the complaint of the KMU) nordis.net