Posted: Friday, 4 March 2011
The wave of protests spreading throughout the Middle East and Africa is growing by the day, triggering changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, and inspiring hope in repressed countries as far away as Burma.
The causes of the revolt are the same everywhere. Unemployment, widespread poverty, inequality, corruption, and the repression of fundamental human rights lie at the root of the vast and brave mobilizations of so many young people deprived of a future and of freedoms.
At this truly global watershed moment, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representing 3.2 million Canadian workers, expresses its support for the legitimate aspirations of the region's people for greater democracy and social justice.
However, the response to the courageous emergence of people power is becoming increasingly violent, culminating in recent days with the atrocious massacres committed in Libya by the brutal dictatorship of Colonel Gadhafi. The unprecedented violence with which the authorities have responded to demonstrations by civilians legitimately demanding respect for their fundamental rights and freedom of expression and assembly, is dragging the country into a dreadful bloodbath.
The CLC appeals to the international community to insist that these atrocities cease immediately and to ensure that those responsible for these repressive and brutal acts are brought to justice. Those in power must stop responding with repression and listen, once and for all, to the demands of the people.
The international community must take immediate action to ensure an end to repression and to support the emergence of political, social and economic solutions, including employment and social protection, to deliver the long-awaited freedoms and development to everyone in the region.
The CLC supports and stands in solidarity with our union Brothers and Sisters fighting on the front lines for democratic change and freedoms. The building of free and independent trade unionism in the region is essential to the construction of a firm democracy and a better future. Trade union freedoms and social dialogue go hand in hand with democracy and development.
As journalists are killed, injured, and prevented, on a massive scale, from performing their key task of informing the public, the CLC also calls for respect for freedom of the press. The CLC is further calling for an immediate end to the jamming of the Internet and other means of communication imposed by rulers in the region.