【香港】往阿根庭駐港使館抗議工運人士被無理毆打以及正視血汗工場問題

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2009/07/16

AMRC (Asia Monitor Resource Centre) 亞洲專訊中心,會與其他本地勞工團體,明天前往阿根庭駐港使館,抗議一位阿根庭工運友人Gustavo Vera及其同事,在首都布宜諾斯艾利斯一次抗議及揭露某個血汗工場的行動中,被無理毆打,而警方卻袖手旁觀。

GustavoVera早前亦來過香港與本地勞工團體分享他在阿根庭2001年經濟危機時的佔廠運動經驗。

有關這次Gustavo被襲的背景資料,詳情請參閱給阿根庭駐港使館之信件。

是次抗議活動資料﹕ 日期﹕17-07-2009(五) 時間﹕下午2時正 地點﹕中環怡和大廈2018-19室阿根庭駐港使館 請各傳媒派員採訪﹗ 聯絡人﹕AMRC Doris Lee 2332 1346 9862 1736 。

Press Release

Protest against the attack on Labour activists and the Sweatshops problems in Argentina

AMRC (Asia Monitor Resource Centre)’s partner in the Latin American labour movement, Mr. Gustavo Vera and other activists from La Alameda in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were attacked and wounded on July 10 after they went with journalists to free workers and their families from a secret garment sweatshop. (Please refer to the “Letter to Argentine authorities from Hong Kong” for details).

Gustavo Vera visited Hong Kong in March 2009. He shared with the public in Hong Kong about the experience of workers under Argentina’s financial crisis in 2001 and their strategies for empowerment and survival; and about worker cooperatives.

Tomorrow we plan to go together to the Argentine Consulate in Hong Kong to protest the attacks on Gustavo Vera and La Alameda, and the neglect of the government in dealing with victims of labour trafficking and sweatshops.

Date: 17th July, 2009 (Fri)

Time: 2:00 pm

Venue: Argentina Consulate in Hong Kong

Suites 2018-19, 20 Floor, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place Central.

Contact Person: AMRC Doris Lee 2332 1346 9862 1736 ------------

Letter to Argentine authorities from Hong Kong and Asian Labour groups

Regarding attack on Gustavo Vera and La Alameda activists when freeing workers from hidden sweatshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina

17 July 2009

Background:

Gustavo Vera and at least seven other activists from La Alameda in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were attacked and wounded last night (July 10) after they went with journalists to free workers and their families from a secret garment sweatshop they had earlier identified. The workers and family were able to leave with their belongings while the inspectors from the city’s labour department stayed inside. Within minutes arrived “Alfredo Ayala” who identified himself as “a representative of the Bolivian community”, who called by phone to “send me more people”, and then in less than ten minutes up to a hundred men had gathered, and when the TV cameras of the reporters who were accompanying Gustavo had left, those men began to attack Gustavo and his companions from La Alameda – while two policemen diverted traffic and the chief of the operation said that there were no more personnel to send.

While the attackers ran off, Gustavo Vera was brutally attacked and had to be taken out from the crowd by the police. At this moment there are five wounded in the hospital and various companions of La Alameda giving statements in police station No. 40, two blocks from the sweatshop. (http://laretaguardiaam770.blogspot.com/)

Activists and members of unions and cooperatives in Hong Kong and Thailand met Gustavo Vera in meetings in March 2009, when Asian countries were already many months into worsening financial and economic crisis and rising food and oil prices. He shared with us the experience of workers under Argentina’s financial crisis in 2001 and their strategies for empowerment and survival.

Letter to Argentina authorities, cc: La Alameda

Att: Argentina Consulate in HK

1210 Jardine House, 1 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong Special

Administrative Region, People's Republic of China

Tel: (852) 2523 3208 Fax: (852) 2877 0906

Attn: Minister Jorge Taiana, Chancellor of Argentina

Head of the City Government Mauricio Macri

Her Excellency President of Argentina Ms. Cristina Fernandez

It was brought to our attention that Gustavo Vera and at least seven other activists from La Alameda in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were attacked and wounded on July 10 after they went with journalists to free workers and their families from a secret garment sweatshop they had earlier identified. Though police were not far away, they did not do the job of protecting people who are working on behalf of all Argentinians to expose gross exploitation and enslavement of workers in hidden sweatshops, for the profits of heartless companies that fail to bear full responsibility.

La Alameda and Gustavo Vera have been working tirelessly and relentlessly for many years on behalf of workers and against slavery, and in recent months have made great media exposures of networks of prostitution, of places disguised as bars, where women were found to have been victims of trafficking, including minors. They exposed these with the help of the cartoneros, with hidden cameras. They have continually been working with formerly entrapped migrant Bolivian workers rescuing other workers from hidden sweatshops where they often have been trafficked in and kept to work for long hours, low pay, and atrocious living conditions.

In Asia as well workers are forced to work long hours, with exposure to health problems and often sexual harassment, and with no protection from their national police, but rather often the terrorism and harassment of their own police and of hired thugs, for their attempts to assert their rights as workers.

We met Gustavo Vera in meetings in Thailand and Hong Kong in March 2009, when Asian countries were already many months into worsening financial and economic crisis and rising food and oil prices. He shared with us the experience of workers under Argentina’s financial crisis in 2001 and their strategies for empowerment and survival.

We applaud and appreciate his strong sense of solidarity with workers and constant struggle to raise the rights and living standards of all workers regardless of origin. This is true international solidarity.

We were horrified and outraged to hear of the attack that happened on July 10 to Gustavo Vera and La Alameda members. We strongly condemn the thugs who attacked Gustavo and his companions of La Alameda in such a cowardly way immediately after they carried out the necessary and important work of rescuing workers from slave labour and exposing this scourge of the country which ends up profiting large companies. We also strongly question the role of the police, and urge that the police of the city and of the country make a full investigation. We urge the police and the government to ensure that the criminals who carried out the attacks are found and punished, and that Gustavo Vera and the other members of La Alameda are given medical care and protection from further attacks.

We also support the demands of La Alameda for the victims of trafficking whom they rescued. We strongly urge that the city and national government take responsibility by immediately making a full investigation of the sweatshop's situation, closing the sweatshop

immediately, and suing the owner for violating the law on homebased work, the law on trafficking, and for reduction to servitude and trafficking in persons. Charges should brought against the owner of the brand ‘Susana L’ and the victims should be immediately given adequate assistance.

Respectfully yours

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Committee for Asian Women Hong Kong Women Workers Association Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions UNI Asia-Pacific Regional Office Thai Labour Campaign Solidarity Factory Triumph International (Thailand) Labour Union Workers Assistance Center, Inc. Solidarity of Cavite Workers

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