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ILO Cites Harare For Failing To Respond To Labor Rights Complaint

The International Labor Organization's standards committee has effectively chastised the government of Zimbabwe in connection with alleged violations of the rights of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to which Harare declined to respond.

ILO sources said the standards committee adopted a so-called "special paragraph" to highlight its concern. Special paragraphs, contained in the introduction to the panel's report, are adopted when the committee has examined allegations of violations of freedom of association and when a government has delayed making a response.

ILO and other sources said a Zimbabwean government delegation led by Labor Minister Nicholas Goche declined to appear before the standards committee on grounds that it did not believe it would receive a fair hearing.

A special paragraph, according to the ILO, "contains an urgent appeal to the governments concerned and, as soon as possible afterwards, special communications are sent to these governments by the Director-General on behalf of the committee."

Studio 7 was unable to obtain comment from Labor Minister Goche or any other Labor Ministry official empowered to speak in the matter. Goche incurred the displeasure of South African officials for failing to attend crisis resolution talks set for Friday - on grounds that he had urgent business before the ILO in Geneva.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he does not believe the verdict will change his union’s adversarial relationship with the government.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...