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Urgent Interventions

Zimbabwe: arrest of 9 trade unionists

Case ZWE 111202. ESCRC

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), a member of the OMCT network, of the arrest of nine trade unionists on December 9 2002 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

According to the information received, while trade unionists were taking part in a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’ annual review symposium on December 9 2002, the police intervened at around 5 pm and arrested nine trade unionists who are still being held in detention. Moreover, the information received relates that two other trade unionists may have been taken into custody.

The names of the nine trade unionists arrested are:

Mr. Wellington Chibebe, ZCTU General Secretary
Mr. Tambaoga Nyazika, ZCTU Regional Officer
Mr. Timothy Kondo, ZCTU Advocacy Coordinator
Mr. Settlement Chikwinya, Zimbabwe Ferro Alloys Workers’ Union
Mr. David Shambare, General Secretary of the Railway Artisans Union
Ms. Patience Mandozana, Zimbabwe Radio & Television Workers’ Union
Mr. Thomas Nyamanza, Railway Artisans Union
Mr. Gideon Shoko, General Secretary, Amalgamated Railwaymen’s Union
Mr. Hwinya Matambo, Zimbabwe Electricity and Energy Workers’ Union.

It is reported that the charges against which the nine trade unionists have been arrested are unknown and that the police has given no indication as to when they are to be released.

According to the information received, these arrests come against a background of sharp economic decline in Zimbabwe and on the eve of a December 10 national strike called by a coalition of civic groups and supported by the ZCTU, allegedly involving tens of thousands of workers, though it is reported that the meeting was not related to this strike action

Action Requested

Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities urging them to:

i. order the immediate release of the persons detained, in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

ii. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the nine trade unionists;

iii. guarantee the respect for economic, social and cultural rights and labour rights of the workers, including the right to work, the right to fair wages guaranteeing a decent living for the workers and their families, the right to form and join trade unions and the right to strike.


. President Robert Mugabe Fax: 263 4 79 03 16 / 263 4 73 46 44.

. Home Affairs Ministry Mr. Dumiso Dabenjwa Fax: 263 4 72 67 16.

Please also write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country

Geneva, December 11th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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