International solidarity efforts for Hassan Juma Awad and the oil workers of Iraq must continue.

Charges against Hassan Juma’a were dropped today- 1st of July 2013

The hearing today didn’t last long. In 30 minutes the court decided to drop the charges against Hassan Juma’a.
Today the company lawyer and the prosecutor repeated the accusation against Hassan but at the same time confirmed that there were no damages caused by Hassan’s activities. The prosecutor asked to close the case and drop the charges. Hassan’s lawyer didn’t need to present his defense and didn’t expect the prosecutor would drop the charges.
We still don’t have the formal decision; usually the written decision comes later. The South Oil Company can appeal the decision but there is no longer a formal proceeding pending against Hassan Juma’a!
Hassan’s union will send a letter soon.

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Your “Charges” Are Their Rights!
Drop the Charges!
In the end the Iraqi government didn’t listen to national and international calls to withdraw the legal case against the trade unionist and human rights defender, Hassan Juma’a Awad, President of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions. He had been accused in a criminal complaint by his employer, the South Oil Company (SOC), of undermining the Iraqi economy by organizing illegal strikes and publicly criticizing the privatization of Iraq’s oil.

NEW VIDEO: Iraqi Workers After the War [photo]

At a hearing on June 3rd, the SOC lawyer presented a list of charges against Hassan Juma’a based on a letter from the Inspector General of the Iraq Ministry of Oil in Baghdad. The Inspector General’s letter reported the conclusions of an administrative investigation by the Ministry of Oil into the role Hassan Juma’a had played in strikes by oil workers upset with management’s failure to redress their grievances and live up to promises management had made, and continuing violations of worker rights.

The Ministry claimed that Hassan Juma’a instigated the strikes and that he had criticized Iraq’s policy concerning the role of multinational corporations in the development of its oil. The Inspector General sent to the court copies of newspaper articles to prove its charge that Hassan had accused Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani of using a 1987 law enacted by Saddam Hussein to ban trade unions in the public sector. All this, according to the Ministry of Oil, caused “moral damage” to the company and Iraq’s economy.

Hassan Juma’a responded that his activities and statements were part of the legitimate work of the IFOU, explaining the positive role of the union and the fact that it had even received thank you letters from the Ministry of Oil for its contributions to the industry.

The Iraqi constitution guarantees freedom of speech to all Iraqi citizens. It also calls for adoption of a labor law that conforms to internationally recognized labor rights defined by International Labour Organization Conventions, including those signed by Iraq.

The charges against Hassan are an unprecedented use of the Iraqi penal code against a labor activist - relying on a law that was last used during the Saddam era to repress state employees. Hassan faces imprisonment if the court finds that as a result of his actions, "the interests of the state [were] harmed."

The judge gave the SOC lawyer until June 17th to produce evidence of financial damages to the company that Hassan is claimed to have caused.

It is vital that we maintain and increase our solidarity and advocacy efforts to remind the Iraqi government that what the Ministry of Oil claims as "violations" are actuallyrights of Iraqi trade unionists and all Iraqis enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution and international law to criticize their government and express their opinions.

This case is only the latest in ongoing repression of public sector worker rights by the Iraqi government, in which workers and union activists have been fined, transferred, reprimanded and fined for their union activity. Criminalizing union activity represents a clear escalation of state repression of workers exercising their rights.

We call on the Iraqi government to immediately drop the charges against Hassan and cancel disciplinary orders issued by the Ministry of Oil to union activists, including all punitive and retaliatory transfers, reprimands and arbitrary penalties, and to end retaliation against those who are peacefully exercising their rights.

We urge the international labour movement, non-governmental organizations and human rights advocates to speak out against these violations and monitor and report on the proceedings against Hassan Juma’a and other Iraqi workers that are subject to government and employer retaliation and repression.

We invite organizations to sign the Open Letter to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and urge individuals to sign a petition to the government to protest these violations.

Organizations are invited to sign the letter at: http://bit.ly/Letter_to_Maliki
To indicate personal support, sign the petition at: http://bit.ly/dropcharges
WORKERS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Issued jointly by: Solidarity Center, U.S. Labor Against the War, Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

    The letter :

    To His Excellency Mr. Nouri Al Maliki Prime Minister of Iraq Baghdad-Iraq Best Greetings, We are deeply concerned about the continuing violations of union rights and freedoms in Iraq, in particular in the oil sector. Hassan Juma Awad, Chairman of the Federation of Oil Unions, has been summoned before the Basra Court, on March 20, where he will face charges of organizing a strike at the Southern Oil Company. However, Hassan Juma Awad declares that these charges are false and that he is being accused as part of a Ministry of Oil effort to slander and undermine him and the unions. Also, eight Southern Oil Company workers have been summoned to the General Inspector’s Office in the Ministry of Oil in order for the Ministry to investigate their role in recent demonstrations in Basra, where workers engaged in peaceful protest to express their legitimate demands. The Iraqi constitution guarantees freedom of association and peaceful demonstrations, yet over the years, the Ministry of Oil has repeatedly taken disciplinary actions against union activists, including transferring them to distant work sites, reprimanding them, filing criminal complaints against them and imposing heavy fines and penalties on them. The Ministry has banned union organizing at the companies affiliated to it, which is also a violation of ILO convention 98, which Iraq has ratified. These attacks on freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively reflect the government of Iraq’s intention to hold on to repressive laws and policies issued under the Saddam Hussein regime. Decree 150 of 1987, which bans union organizing in the public sector, is clear evidence of that, as is the continued enforcement of labor law number 71 and the union organizing law number 52 of 1987, both of which are in contradiction with ILO conventions and international labor standards, though Iraq has ratified sixty six international labor conventions. The Iraqi government’s continued repression of freedom of association and worker rights, based on laws issued under a dictatorship, is in direct contradiction with the principals of democracy and justice that the Iraqi government promises its people. The government of Iraq should immediately cancel the orders issued by the Ministry of Oil to union activists, including all transfer orders, reprimands and arbitrary penalties against union activists. Charges against Hassan Juma Awad, and any other workers who have had retaliatory legal action taken against them, should be dropped. All workers, including public sector workers, must be permitted to freely join trade unions, without government interference in union activities. All workers must be guaranteed freedom of association and freedom of expression. Finally, we urge you to act to expedite the passage of the new labor law, in compliance with International labor standards, allowing all workers the right to join unions and bargain collectively. We look forward to your positive response on these urgent and important matters. Sincerely,
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    List of Organizations (Updated 1st of July 2013)

    National and International Unions and Labor Federations No. Name Country 1 AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations] USA 2 Batay Ouvriye Haiti 3 Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, IBT USA 4 Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, AEGC USA 5 Central Única dos Trabalhadores [CUT] Brazil 6 Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes Senegal 7 Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) France 8 Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro [CGIL] Italy 9 Confederazione dei Comitati di Base [COBAS] Italy 10 CNT Solidarité Ouvrière France 11 DISK Turkey 12 Fédération Générale des Postes et Télécommunication et centre d'appel (FGPTT UGTT) Tunisia 13 Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq [FWCUI] Iraq 14 Federazione Impiegati e Operai Metallurgici-CGIL Italy 15 General Federation of Iraqi Workers [GFIW] Iraq 16 GMB Trade Union England 17 International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots USA 18 International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC] International 19 International Transport Workers' Federation International 20 Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers Russia 21 MCTU Malawi 22 National Gathering of Farmers of the Morocco Union for Labor Morocco 23 National Union of Journalists UK 24 Norwegian Transportworkers Union, Oslo Norway 25 Organisation Générale Indépendante des Travailleurs, Travailleuses d'Haïti (OGITH) Haiti 26 Organization of Construction Workers in Kurdistan Iraq 27 Or.S.A.- Ferrovie Italy 28 Service Employees International Union [SEIU] USA 29 Sud Aerien France 30 Sugar Workers Federation of Peru [PACD] Peru 31 Syndicat Snapap Algerie Algeria 32 Textile Workers Union Iran 33 Trade Union Congress [TUC] UK 34 Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association UK 35 Transport Workers Union Australia 36 Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians UK 37 Union Syndicale Solidaires France 38 UNISON UK 39 UNITE UK 40 United Steelworkers USA 41 United Transportation Union USA ------------------- Local Unions 1 AK Internationalismus der IG Metall Berlin, IGM Germany 2 Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO USA 3 American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Retirees Chapter 36 USA 4 American Federation of Teachers, Local 2026, AFL-CIO USA 5 American Federation of Teachers, Local 2121, AFL-CIO USA 6 American Federation of Teachers, Local 3220, AFL-CIO USA 7 American Postal Workers Union, Local 10 USA 8 Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Seattle Chapter USA 9 Berkeley Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1078, AFL-CIO USA 10 California Federation of Teachers USA 11 Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Local 1180 USA 12 Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario [ETFO] Canada 13 Engineering Professions Union-Southern Electricity Sector-Basra Iraq 14 Faculty and Staff Federation of the Community College of Philadelphia, AFT 2026 USA 15 IndustriALL affiliates in Middle East and North Africa Iraq 16 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 340 USA 17 Kurdistan Construction Workers Organization(KCWO) Kurdistan/Iraq 18 Local 510 Sign Display & Allied Crafts USA 19 Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO USA 20 Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO USA 21 Merseyside TUC UK 22 Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council USA 23 National Association of Letter Carriers Branch, 1563 USA 24 NJ State Industrial Union Council USA 25 Oakland Education Association USA 26 Office and Professional Employees Int'l Union Local 2, AFL-CIO USA 27 NJ State Industrial Union Council USA 28 Pennsylvania Federation BMWE, Division of the Teamsters USA 29 Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women, AFL-CIO USA 30 Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 393 in San Jose, CA. USA 31 Public and Commercial Services Union [PCS] UK 32 TUC, Merseyside UK 33 SEIU, Local 503, Oregon USA 34 SEIU Local 1021, Northern California USA 35 Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (Albany, N.Y.) USA 36 South Carolina AFL-CIO USA 37 South Central Federation of Labor, Madison, Wisconsin USA 38 UCW-CWA [United Campus Workers] Local 3865 USA 39 Unione Sindacale di Base P.I. giunta Regione Lombardia Italy 40 Unison UK - Branch 3480 UK 41 United Auto Workers, Local 2320, Southeast Region USA 42 United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) USA 43 United Steelworkers Local 675 USA 44 Unite the Union, Branch EM/10-465 UK 45 Unite the Union, Branch LE128 UK 46 Unite the Union, Branch SE202 UK 47 Unite the Union, Branch 939 UK 48 Upstate N.Y. IWW USA 49 UPTE-CWA [University Professional & Technical Employees] 9119, AFL-CIO USA 50 Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO USA ------------------NGOs 1 Al Salam Iraq 2 Alliance for Global Justice USA 3 Alliance for Peace & Justice of Western Massachusetts USA 4 Alternatives International Canada 5 ARCI [Associazione Ricreativa e Culturale Italiana] Italy 6 Azidi solidarity and fraternity league Iraq 7 Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice USA 8 Bund for Soziale Verteidigung Germany 9 cait ni cadlaig UK 10 Campaign Against Criminalising Communities UK 11 Campaign for Labor Rights USA 12 Casa per la Pace Milano Italy 13 Center for Constitutional Rights USA 14 CEO Pipe Organs/Golden Ponds Farm USA 15 Citizens' Coalition for Equal Access [CC=A] USA 16 Counterfire UK 17 Defending Dissent Foundation USA 18 Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned USA 19 The Free University of Liverpool UK 20 Global Compliance Research Project Canada 21 Greater New Haven Peace Council USA 22 Haiti Action Committee USA 23 Haldane Society UK 24 Ibn Khaldun Institute Poland 25 ILWU PCPA Seattle Pensioners' Club USA 26 Iraq 2020 Assembly Iraq 27 Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) International/Iraq 28 Iraq Veterans Against the War USA 29 Iraqi Association for Human Rights in Basra Basra 30 Jobs with Justice USA 31 Jubilee Debt Campaign UK 32 Kurdistan Without Genocide Iraq 33 LA Laborfest USA 34 Labor Beat Chicago USA 35 LabourNet Germany Germany 36 Manawatu Employment Action Group New Zealand 37 Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, Los Angeles USA 38 MENA Solidarity UK 39 Migrant Media UK 40 Miria Bisi Per la liberta' di espressione ed organizzazione. Italy 41 NJ Progressive Democrats USA 42 No Sweat UK 43 NO TO WAR - Denmark Denmark 44 PDA Illinois - Chicago USA 45 Peace Action USA 46 Peace Action Montgomery USA 47 Peter Cares House USA 48 Peter Tatchell Foundation UK 49 Platform London UK 50 Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq Iraq 51 Progressive Democrats of America USA 52 Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese Italy 53 September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows USA 54 Shammari (organization to ensure the rights of working women) Iraq 55 Solidarity Australia 56 S. P. NGOs Council Iraq 57 Stop the War Coalition UK 58 Tammuz Organization Iraq 59 Texas Labor Against the War USA 60 Ther Development Center Iraq 61 Time Center Iraq 62 Tolerancy International Iraq 63 Trade Unionists in Solidarity with Colombia USA 64 Un Ponte Per… [UPP] Italy 65 U.S. Labor Against the War [USLAW] USA 66 U.S. Labor for Friendship with Cuba USA 67 Vancouver for Peace USA 68 United for Peace and Justice [UFPJ] USA 69 War on Want UK 70 War Resisters League USA 71 Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice USA 72 Womens International League for Peace and Freedom USA 73 Working Democracy of Minneapolis, MN USA