ACTU President Sharan Burrow has protested to the Zimbabwe High Commission in Australia regarding the arrest of Zimbabwe trade unionists.
Madam High Commissioner,
Re: Arrests Of Trade Unionists
Again, I am writing to strongly
protest at the brutal attack, harassment and imprisonment of more than 60
members of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU). You will recall that
earlier we wrote to you to protest against the continued harassment of the
members and officers of the ZCTU.
With our colleagues in the
international trade union movement, we strongly condemn the arrest of the
regional leaders Mr. Peter Munyukwi and Mr. David Shambare. Mr. Peter Munyukwi,
Central Region Chairperson based in the Midlands City of Gweru, was severely
assaulted in the 8th of October protest and on 17 November he was picked up from
his home at 3.15 am. Mr. David Shambare, Western Region Vice Chairman is based
in Bulawayo. Mr. Shambare had already received threats for organising industrial
action at the National Railways of Zimbabwe, and at one time was told to vacate
his home. Their whereabouts are unknown at the moment.
On 18 November
the police in Harare arrested a further six members of the ZCTU General Council.
Later that same day at least 50 ZCTU leaders were arrested. These
arrests included the top leadership of ZCTU, the secretary general, Wellington
Chibebe, the president, Lovemore Matombo, and the vice president, Lucia
Matibenga, among others. Other trade unionists, NGO representatives and
independent journalists were also arrested. Several were severely beaten. In a
worrying development, the ZCTU Secretary General, Wellington Chibebe was
separated from the rest and is now being held in solitary
The police then arrested another 7 union leaders in Gweru, 2
union leaders in Bulawayo and one in Gwanda bringing the total of pre-emptive
arrests to more than 60 ZCTU members. There are indications that several
hundreds of people are in police custody.
We request respectfully that
you urgently convey to your Government the serious concern with which this
continued harassment and attack on members of ZCTU is viewed by the Australian
union movement and all Australians concerned with well being and future of
We further request that those arrested are immediately released
and that no further attempts are made to intimidate, harass or prosecute the
organisers and participants participating in legitimate and peaceful
Cc: Alexander Downer