Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Joint statement by Iraqi unions and US Labour Agains the War

At the invitation of U.S. Labor Against the War, a delegation of six Iraqi
labor leaders representing three of that country 's major labor
organizations toured the United States between June 10 and June 26, 2005.
They visited 25 cities, attended 45 events and 10 press conferences, met
with thousands of working people, union leaders, members of Congress and
other public officials, religious and community leaders, and antiwar and
other social justice activists. They have given voice to the people of Iraq
whose voices have been largely unheard in this country. They brought a
story of courage, hope, struggle and resistance on the part of Iraq 's
working people that has been absent from the mainstream U.S. media. The
following statement was drafted and signed at the conclusion of their
visit. It represents the consensus view of all the Iraqis and their U.S. hosts:

Joint Statement by Leaders of Iraq's Labor Movement and U.S. Labor Against the War June 26, 2005 Washington DC, USA

We, the representatives of the
Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), the Federation of Workers Councils
and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), the General Union of Oil Employees (GUOE), and
U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) issue this statement at the conclusion
of an historic 25-city tour by leaders of the three Iraqi labor
organizations in the United States. We speak in the spirit of international
solidarity and respect for labor rights around the world. We speak in the
spirit of opposition to war and occupation and for the right of
self-determination of nations and peoples. On behalf of the Iraqi labor
movement, we met and spoke directly to thousands of Americans, including
workers, union, religious and political leaders, anti-war activists and
ordinary citizens. All of us, both Iraqi and American, were deeply
heartened at the solidarity expressed throughout the tour. We have seen
with our eyes and felt with our hearts that the people of the United States
do not want the war and occupation of Iraq to continue. We are strengthened
in our understanding of the deep commitment of organized labor and workers
in Iraq to a unified democratic, independent Iraq, with full equality
between women and men in terms of rights and duties, and based on full
respect for the human identity without discrimination on any basis. The
tour was an expression of the following key principles:

The principal obstacle to peace, stability, and the reconstruction of Iraq
is the occupation. The occupation is the problem, not the solution. Iraqi
sovereignty and independence must be restored. The occupation must end in
al its forms, including military bases and economic domination. The war was
fought for oil and regional domination, in violation of international law,
justified by lies and deception without consultation with the Iraqi people.
The occupation has been a catastrophe for both our peoples. In Iraq, it has
destroyed homes and industry, national institutions and infrastructure -
water, sanitation, electric power and health services. It has killed many
thousands, and left millions homeless and unemployed. It has poisoned the
people, their land and water with the toxic residue of the war. In the
United States, more than 1700 working families have suffered loss of loved
ones and thousands more have been wounded, disabled or psychologically
scarred in a war that serves no legitimate purpose. The cost of the war has
led to slashing of social programs and public services. It has militarized
our economy, undermined our own liberties and eroded our democratic rights.
We believe it is the best interest of both our peoples for the war and
occupation to end and for the Iraqi people to determine for themselves
their future and the kind and extent of international aid and cooperation
that suits their needs and serves the interests of the Iraqi people. . We
strongly and unambiguously condemn terrorist attacks on civilians and
targeting of trade union and other civil society leaders for intimidation,
kidnapping, torture and assassination. The occupation is fuel on the fire
of terrorism. . The national wealth and resources of Iraq belong to the
Iraqi people. We are united in our opposition to the imposition of
privatization of the Iraqi economy by the occupation, the IMF, the World
Bank, foreign powers and any force that takes away the right of the Iraqi
people to determine their own economic future.

We call on nations across the globe to help Iraqis regain their economic
capacity, including full reparations from the US and British governments to
rebuild the war-ravaged country. .

We call for the cancellation of Saddam's massive foreign debt by the IMF
and other international lenders without any conditions imposed upon the
people of Iraq who suffered under the regime that was supported by these
loans. The foreign debt of Iraq is the debt of a fallen dictatorship, not
the debt incurred by the Iraqi people. Further, we call for the
cancellation of reparations imposed as a result of wars waged by Saddam
Hussein's regime, and call for the return of all Iraqi property and
antiquities taken during the war and occupation." .

The bedrock of any democracy is a strong, free, democratic labor movement.
We are united in our commitment to build strong, independent, democratic
unions and to fight to improve the wages, working and living conditions of
workers everywhere. We confront the same economic and corporate interests
that have mounted a global assault on workers and labor rights. We demand
strong labor rights in Iraq at the same time that we strive to reverse the
erosion of labor rights in the United States and elsewhere around the world
where they are threatened. We call for free and independent labor unions in
Iraq based on internationally recognized ILO conventions guaranteeing the
right to organize free of all government interference and including full
equality for women workers. We support the direct participation of labor
and workers' representatives in drafting the new labor code, in determining
government policies affecting unions and workers' interests, and in
drafting the new constitution. We condemn the continued enforcement of
Saddam's decree number 150 issued in 1987 that abolished union rights for
workers in the extensive Iraqi public sector and call for its immediate
repeal. .

We commit ourselves to strengthening the bonds of solidarity and friendship
between working people of our two countries and to increase communication
and cooperation between our two labor movements. We look forward to
delegations of Iraqis and Americans visiting each other's countries for
mutual support, and to strengthen international understanding and
solidarity in our common struggle for peace and establishment of a
democratic civil society that respects human rights and freedom.

With the strength and solidarity of workers across the US, in Iraq and
internationally, we are confident that we can build a just and democratic
future for labor in Iraq, the US, and around the world.


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