Communist Party of Australia


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive

Pete's Corner


Press Fund


About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction

Contact Us

facebook, twitter

Major Issues





Climate Change



What's On






Books, T-shirts, CDs/DVDs, Badges, Misc


Issue #1543      18 April 2012

ILO condemns detention of Ivory Coast unionist

The International Labour Organisation 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. 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 recognised.”

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 kilometres 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 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.

The ILO’s references to fundamental human rights instruments – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights – should remind the transnational companies who rely on cocoa sourced from the Ivory Coast that the massive presence of child labour in cocoa production is not the only ongoing human rights scandal in that country.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require companies to take stock of the human rights risks in their supply chains and to engage in corrective action. No cocoa trader or confectionery maker can say they didn’t know that the government they deal with is arbitrarily and harshly imprisoning a national trade union leader. What are they doing about it? Amnesty International considers Basile Mahan Gahé a prisoner at risk of torture.  

Next article – Roman workers defy pension assault

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA