No government should interfere in the internal democratic affairs of any teacher union, says EI in a letter addressed to the minister of civil society Dr Al-Zubaidi on 30 March.
Various sources indicated to EI that the Iraqi government has appointed an official body and granted it the authority to take over the Iraqi Teachers' Union (ITU). This governmental body demanded that the leadership of the union hand over the keys to its headquarters along with membership and other records. It is also claimed that the government wants the union to hold national elections soon and the current leadership is not allowed to stand for it.
"The harassment of the ITU leaders is a violation of international law on human rights, including Convention 87 of the International Labour Organisation on the Freedom of Association," wrote EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen in the letter. "The rights of the members of an organisation can only be exercised in a climate that is free from violence, pressure or threats of any kind against the leaders and members of this organisation, and it is for governments to ensure that this principle is respected."
EI seeks a dialogue with the Iraqi authorities to obtain more information on the matter.