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10/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2019 12:56

ILO Commission of Inquiry issues report on a complaint against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

GENEVA (ILO News) - The Commission of Inquiry set up by the ILO Governing Body to examine a complaint against the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has adopted its report, with recommendations calling for 'the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, threats, persecution, stigmatization, intimidation or any other form of aggression' against employers' and workers' organizations that do not support the government.

The Commission, composed of three independent members, was established in March 2018 in response to a complaint submitted by 33 employers' delegates at the International Labour Conference in June 2015.

In accordance with article 28 of the ILO Constitution , the report sets out the results of the Committee's inquiries, as well as conclusions and recommendations that urge 'respect for freedom of association as the basis of tripartite dialogue for national reconciliation, sustainable economic development and social justice.'

The complaint referred to the non-observance of ILO Conventions and alleged, in particular, acts of violence, other aggressions, persecution, harassment and a campaign to discredit the employers' organization FEDECAMARAS, including its leaders and affiliates, as well as interference by the authorities, lack of tripartite consultation and exclusion from social dialogue.

The complainants said that these actions also affected workers' organizations that do not support the government.

The Commission had direct contact with the parties and other involved actors during a visit to Venezuela that included its capital and other cities. It also held numerous videoconferences and hearings in Geneva, in the presence of representatives of the parties and with the participation of witnesses from both public authorities and non-governmental sectors.

The Commission gathered extensive documentation and written information, having received more than two hundred comprehensive written submissions from the Government, the complainants and various social partners in the country, as well as from other persons and institutions with knowledge of the issues raised.

The Commission's recommendations set out the need to take the necessary steps to ensure a climate free from violence, threats, persecution, stigmatization, intimidation or any other form of aggression.

These recommendations call for 'the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, threats, persecution, stigmatization, intimidation or other form of aggression against persons or organizations in connection with the exercise of legitimate trade union or trade union activities, and the adoption of measures to ensure that such acts are not repeated in the future.'

Furthermore, it calls for 'the immediate release of any employer or trade unionist who may be in prison as a result of carrying out the legitimate activities of their workers' or employers' organization.' (page 229)

The report of the Commission of Inquiry has been sent by the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, to the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The government has three months to announce whether or not it accepts the recommendations; and if not, whether it proposes to refer the complaint to the International Court of Justice.

There have been 13 Commissions of Inquiry in 100 years of ILO history.