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» 22.04.2008 - Trade unions call for decent work
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ITUC slams aggressive repression of Mauritanian trade unionists

afrol News, 8 October - International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has slammed violent suppression by Mauritanian authorities against trade unionists who had come together in Nouakchott yesterday, to take part in World Day for Decent Work (WDDW).

While welcoming success of this global trade union event in a video message, general secretary of ITUC, Guy Ryder, also expressed his concern at aggression meted out to Mauritanian trade unionists yesterday.

According to a press statement issued by ITUC today, six national trade union centres (UTM, CGTM, CLTM, USLM, UNTM and CNTM), appealing for resistance to military dictatorship in Mauritania, had announced that they would maintain their call for a peaceful yesterday afternoon, as part of international celebration of WDDW, in spite of junta's ban on all demonstrations.

"We were expecting to be repressed, but it is price we have to pay," said Abdallahi Ould Mohamed, known as Nanah, general secretary of General Workers' Confederation of Mauritania (CGTM), in a statement to Agence France Presse.

"If a trade union organisation cannot even express its concerns freely, out on the streets, then we may as well 'shut up shop' and leave! Demonstrating is all we have left," added CGTM general secretary, voicing appeal by six national trade union centres for defence of fundamental rights suppressed by military authorities.

ITUC's statement shows that in country's provinces, regional trade union coordinating bodies had planned specific events, such as conferences and meetings, to mark trade union World Day for Decent Work.

"About an hour after demonstration began, they started to throw tear gas at us and beat us with clubs. It was very violent, and not even women were spared," general secretary of CLTM, Samory Ould Beye told ITUC.

He noted that by nightfall, calm seemed to have been restored, adding that however that trade unions' premises were still under police occupation, Mr Beye also explained that about 20 people were injured as a result of repression.

Statement further indicates that national trade union centres have called consistently for an unconditional return to constitutional order ever since coup d'état two months ago by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who has taken over presidency of High Council of State, and for reinstatement of president of republic and his prime minister in their legitimate posts.

"Overriding interest of Mauritanian nation lies in respect of its constitutional will as expressed in March 2007 elections, which marked culmination of a long democratic process that had made possible establishment of genuine democratic institutions which remain only legitimate institutions capable of ensuring nation's lasting development," it says.

ITUC strongly condemned military coup on 6 August and has expressed its concerns ever since, joining call of rest of international community for immediate restoration of constitutional order, it concludes.

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