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Labour rights are human rights: 25 years of solidarity

The meeting will underline the need for closer co-operation between trade unionists and other human rights defenders around the world.

Luis Miguel Morantes, general secretary of the Colombian trade union federation CTC, will address the meeting. Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, with 184 trade unionists assassinated last year. This is in addition to 189 death threats, 27 abductions, 17 attacks, 9 forced disappearances, and 139 arbitrary detentions.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'Labour rights are at the heart of the fight for human rights. The freedom to associate, to organise, and to have equal opportunities in the workplace - every year we see these rights under attack around the world. And every year we see those who stand up for their rights being intimidated, arrested, or threatened with their lives.

'It is essential that the trade union movement and Amnesty International stand together to combat this threat, as they have for the last 25 years. Together we can be a powerful force telling individual states and international bodies that human rights must be respected.'

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:

'The British trade union movement has a proud history of working with Amnesty International to tackle affronts to labour rights, human rights. Together we have enjoyed some great successes in supporting trade unionists and many others the world over who campaign for their basic freedoms.

'I hope that fellow trade unionists will continue to work closely with Amnesty to ensure that labour rights, human rights remain at the top of the world agenda in the years to come.'

Amnesty International has worked with the trade union movement since the late 1970s, when it launched an international campaign against mass arrests and torture of union members in Tunisia. Almost all were released as a result. Since then, Amnesty has fought for the rights of trade unionists from Sudan to South Korea and Poland to Indonesia.

Dita Indah Sari, an Indonesian workers' rights activist, was imprisoned and beaten by police after being arrested at a peaceful protest for better wages. After her release in 1999, following a campaign by the Trade Unions, she said: 'Amnesty members campaigned for my release - I received thousands of letters from around the world, from trade union leaders in different countries. It was an expression of individual and international solidarity.'

More about the 25th Anniversary is availabe online...

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