Speaking Event: Oil, Unions and the Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights in Iraq
Hassan Juma'a Awad, President of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, will report on the continuing struggle of Iraqi workers for basic labor rights and to keep Iraq's oil resources from falling under the control of multinational oil companies. Iraq's public sector workers (including its oil sector) still do not have the legal right to organize and bargain more than 10 years after the end of the dictatorship.
Earlier this year Hassan faced criminal charges filed by the Oil Ministry in retaliation for worker strikes that took place in reaction to broken promises, unsafe working conditions, refusal to recognize the union and threatened privatization of Iraqi oil. He was accused of under mining the Iraqi Economy.
An international campaign organized by U.S. Labor Against the War, Solidarity Center and the Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative demanded that all charges be dropped and that Iraq enact a basic labor law to protect the rights of all workers. After months of delays, in early July all charges were dismissed when the Ministry and South Oil Company could provide no evidence to support its claims of economic subversion.
In addition to Hassan Juma'a's report on Iraq, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Civilian-Soldier Alliance and Catalyst Project will report on the "Right to Heal" Campaign that IVAW has launched in collaboration with the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq and the Center for Constitutional Rights in DC in recognition that the Iraq war is not over for the Iraqi people or U.S. veterans who continue to struggle with various forms of trauma and injury; for Iraqis and veterans who suffer the effects of environmental poisoning due to use of chemical and depleted uranium munitions and burn pits of hazardous material; and for a growing generation of orphans and people displaced by war.
Attorney Inder Comar will describe a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqi refugees against George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz for war crimes committed against the Iraqi people in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Code Pink is supporting this effort.