Statement: RENGO condemns suspension of trade union rights in Nepal
09 February 2005
- Nepalese King Gyanendra on 2 February declared his direct control for three years, dismissing Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and all other Cabinet members. He also declared state of emergency cutting phone lines and closing the international airport. The King on 3 February appointed his own cabinet and announced nine royal decrees prohibiting many basic rights, including freedom of association and other trade union rights, meetings and freedom of the press critical of the king’s moves. RENGO condemns the King’s violence that suppresses freedom and democracy of Nepalese people and infringes trade union rights.
- At present, at least 4 trade union leaders are being held by authorities and further oppression on trade union activities are being enforced. President Laxman Basnet and other leaders of the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), which hosted the 18th Regional Conference of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions-Asian and Pacific Regional Organisation (ICFTU-APRO) held in Kathmandu from 2-4 February 2005, have been reportedly listed to be arrested or closely observed and therefore forced into hiding.
- The ICFTU has been proceeding with the filing of the case with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as the King’s moves clearly constitutes violation of internationally recognised basic trade union rights - namely core labour standards - and has called Director-General Juan Somavia of the ILO for direct intervention. RENGO support the ICFTU’s action and will associate itself in further action.
- A resolution adopted at the ICFTU-APRO Congress is urging King Gyanendra to resume dialogue with social partners, including trade unions, and ensure that rights of workers are fully respected. RENGO strongly supports the resolution and will continue to support, in cooperation with other national centres grouped in the ICFTU-APRO, struggles of the NTUC and other democratic forces to retain democracy in Nepal.