To mark Human Rights Day on 10 December, UNISON will take part in a
'route of shame' in London by visiting a number of embassies and high
commissions with poor records on workers' rights. A letter will be
delivered by hand to the residing ambassador/high commissioner
protesting their country's abysmal record in promoting and protecting
The 'route of shame' will include the embassies of Bahrain, Colombia,
South Korea, Qatar, Turkey and the high commission of Swaziland. These
countries systematically deny rights to workers, and actively seek to
undermine, or ban outright, the trade union movement.
By doing this action on Human Rights Day, UNISON wants to draw
attention to the growing deterioration of workers' rights around the
world, to encourage trade union members and others to show solidarity
with trade unionists and workers whose rights are under threat, and to
name and shame the countries that are the worst offenders.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the right to freedom
of assembly and association, the right to join a trade union as well as
other fundamental workers' rights. The International Labour Organisation
(ILO), an agency of the United Nations, has, for nearly a hundred years
adopted conventions that promote and protect workers' rights. Despite
many countries' paper commitments to guarantee these rights, the reality
for many workers, especially those who choose to join a trade union, is
the opposite. Systematic abuses of workers' rights have resulted in
trade unionists being the victims of killings, violence, disappearances,
intimidation, harassment and blacklisting. More recently, a number of
countries, including the UK, have sought to legislate to limit the
ability of trade unions to operate as free, civil society organisations.
These developments contravene international law, and as such, must be
UNISON will notify sister unions in those countries where trade unions
operate, and in countries where trade unions are banned we will write to
solidarity groups and labour rights organisations letting them know that
we are taking action in solidarity with their members. The day of action
will link to a number of campaigns and organisations promoting workers'
rights or calling for the release of imprisoned trade unionists.
During the day UNISON will be tweeting/posting using the hash tags
Profile pics on social media will all carry the orange ribbon
signifying observation of Human Rights Day. We will be encouraging
activists to post photos on social media of themselves holding a poster
proclaiming #WorkersRights are #HumanRights.
We are encouraging other TUC affiliates to support our day of action,
or include us in yours.
The letters from UNISON will be presented to the embassies by Liz Snape
MBE who is assistant general secretary of UNISON and the president of
I am delighted to confirm that Amnesty International UK will be
supporting this UNISON action.
I will participate in the "route of shame" with Amnesty's "Workers'
Rights = Human Rights" placards to make our support visible.
UNISON are not seeking additional people to attend the delegation but
are asking that we tweet and use social media to promote and share the
The "route of shame" is scheduled to take place Thursday morning -
I will be tweeting via @ShaneEnrightTU and I am asking social media
olleagues here and our relevant Country Coordinators to join in.
Community Organiser (Unions and Workplaces)
And Global Trade Union Adviser
Amnesty International UK Section
17-25 New Inn Yard
London EC2A 3EA
Direct: +44 (0)20 7033 1569
Mobile: + 44 (0)7899 982 428