For the second time this year, security forces have disbanded a constitutional meeting of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA). EI, which represents education workers around the world, wrote to the Ethoipian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi telling his government to stop harassing the teacher union.
On 30 Aug 2006, security forces suspended the ETA General Assembly, violating Article 3 of the International Labour Convention 87 which the country ratified in 1963.
EI urges the Ethiopian government to refrain from any act of interference in the activities of the ETA headed by Gemoraw Kassa, such as police intervention in rallies and meetings, intimidation and harassment of trade union leaders and members.
Below is the letter in English dated 8 September 2006:
His Excellency Meles Zenawi
PO Box 1031
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 552020
Brussels, 8 September 2006
Education International is again concerned by the suspension of the General Assembly of the Ethiopia Teachers Association on Wednesday 30 August. It is the second time this year that security forces disband a constitutional meeting of the ETA headed by Ato Gemoraw Kassa.
Education International urges your Government to honour and respect the right of workers’ organisations to organise their activities and carry out their programme. As you are aware, Article 3 of the International Labour Convention 87, ratified by Ethiopia in 1963, states clearly that “workers' and employers' organizations shall have the right to […] organize their activities and to formulate their programmes. […] The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.”
In 2005, the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations recalled that “the right to organize public meetings constitutes an important aspect of trade union rights […] While reasonable restrictions are acceptable, they should not result in breaches of fundamental civil liberties. The Committee trusts that the Government will take all measures necessary to ensure that any restrictions on the organization of public meetings by trade unions are reasonable and do not constitute infringement of fundamental civil liberties.”
Education International urges your Government to refrain from any act of interference in the activities of the ETA headed by Gemoraw Kassa, such as police intervention in rallies and meetings, intimidation and harassment of trade union leaders and members.
Education International sincerely trusts that this message is one your Government can support.
Fred van Leeuwen