Condemning Attacks on Iraqi Trade Unionists
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Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison, Jennifer Scarlott
OPPONENTS OF THE OCCUPATION CONDEMN ATTACKS ON IRAQI TRADE UNIONISTS
We, who opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq and who call for an immediate end to the occupation of that country, are appalled by the torture and assassination in Baghdad on January 4, 2005 of Hadi Salih, International Officer of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). There are also disturbing reports of intimidation, death threats and murders targeting other IFTU members, trade unionists in general, and political activists.
We utterly condemn the assassination of Hadi Salih. We call upon all sides in the conflict in Iraq to respect the rights of non-combatants as required by international law and to recognize the rights of workers to organize freely, without threat or harm, in trade unions of their own choosing in accordance with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.
We believe that the physical targeting of trade unionists is in no way politically or morally acceptable, even though we disagree strongly with the IFTU's support of UN Resolution 1546, which supports the U.S. military presence in Iraq. This resolution has been used by the Bush Administration to justify keeping U.S. troops in the country.
We also oppose the victory of those elements of the resistance whose agenda is to impose a repressive, authoritarian regime on the Iraqi people, whether that regime is Baathist or theocratic-fundamentalist. We do not know whether such authoritarian elements have gained decisive control over the resistance to the U.S. forces and their Iraqi and international allies. We do know, however, that the continuing occupation of Iraq, which grows more brutal with every passing day, only strengthens these elements, increases their influence over the resistance and makes their ultimate victory more likely.
We further oppose the occupation because it is part and parcel of an imperial U.S. foreign policy that shores up undemocratic regimes like those of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, gives one-sided support to Israel against the Palestinians, and promotes unjust, inequitable economic policies throughout the world. Not only in Iraq but throughout the Middle East and globally U.S. foreign and military policy either directly or indirectly subverts freedom and democracy.