Freedom for jailed Ivory Coast union leader Basile Mahan Gahé

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The ILO condemns continued detention of jailed Ivory Coast union leader Basile Mahan Gahé. Basile Gahé is the leader of the national trade union centre Dignité to which CIAGAH-CI is affiliated. CIAGAH-CI organises banana workers employed by SCB, the local subsidiary of Compagnie Fruitière, a French company, 40 % of whose shares are currently owned by Dole.

The ILO has called on the government of Ivory Coast to release jailed union leader Basile Mahan Gahé. In the latest report of the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, published in connection with the March 2012 session of the International Labour Conference, the Committee referred to Basile Gahé’s April 2011 abduction, torture and detention as „a grave violation of the principle of freedom of association“, adding that „a genuinely free and independent trade union movement can develop only if fundamental human rights are respected. Furthermore, the report notes, The guarantees set out in international labour Conventions, particularly those relating to freedom of association, can be effective only if the civil and political rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are genuinely recognized.“ The Committee called on the government of Ivory coast „to state the charges brought against Mr Gahé and to indicate whether he has been released pending trial.“

Basile Mahan Gahé remains imprisoned in the remote town of Boundiali - some 700 kilometers from the capital Abidjan - together with common criminals. Following an ILO mission in June 2011, absurd charges were announced - sedition, insurrectionary activity etc. - and he was transferred from Abidjan to his cell in Boundiali. He has not been brought to trial, he is isolated off from his family, colleagues, lawyers and international visitors and the government has failed to respond to international calls for his freedom. The ILO has now formally added its voice to these international protests.

Act now! — click here to send a message to President Ouattara (with copies to Ivory Coast embassies in France and Belgium) calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Basile Mahan Gahé.