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Somalia ratifies International Labour Organization's conventions on protection of freedom of association

Labourers work at a petrol station construction site in Mogadishu, 24 September 2013.
Labourers work at a petrol station construction site in Mogadishu, 24 September 2013.

REUTERS/Omar Faruk

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) congratulates the Federal Government of Somalia on joining the countries that ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and union rights.

The ratification follows a successful campaign by the Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) and its affiliated unions including NUSOJ that have pressed for a speedy ratification of ILO core conventions if Somalia is to demonstrate its commitment to protect fundamental union rights and freedom of association.

NUSOJ applauds the progressive leadership provided by the Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, who ratified these conventions on 20 March 2014 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva.

“This development finally opens the door to the demand of NUSOJ and other union leaders for the full respect of freedom of association in Somalia, in law and in practice. We call on the federal government to do what is necessary to turn this ratification into reality,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ has been complaining internal union interferences as well as intimidations and harassments of NUSOJ leaders and members for the exercise of legitimate trade union activities. Some officials in the federal government, using their public offices, stand accused for violations of freedom of association as set out in ILO Conventions.

“There is no social peace and no real democracy without free, representative and independent trade unions in Somalia.Respect for the rights of Somalia's working men and women, including working journalists, and responding to their fundamental needs is essential for the construction of a democracy which respects fundamental rights, development and social justice," added Osman.

Failure to apply ILO conventions 87 and 98 in law and in practice as well as continued violations of trade union rights will force union leaders, activists and members to file complaint at the ILO since Somalia is part of governments that ratified these conventions.

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