UNI Global in Buenos Aires for scandal-ridden WTO Ministerial
Over the next 10 days, UNI will be writing articles from what has already turned into a scandal-ridden WTO Ministerial. Christina Colclough, UNI Global Union’s trade expert, is on site together with a UNI-Americas team. Christina will be speaking at several events, mainly on the topic of e-commerce. See why this is important in the article we wrote here.
But before the Ministerial has even started, scandals take no end. Overriding the accreditation system of the WTO and thus creating a very unfortunate precedence for all international meetings, the Argentinian government suddenly decided to block over 64 individuals from NGOs and trade unions from entering the country.
According to the WTO and newspapers, individuals and organization have had their registration cancelled, under the allegation that they “publicly expressed their intention to engage in violent means of protest, to intimidate and generate chaos”. No evidence was presented to support this serious allegation. The much-criticised Argentinian security services even took the WTO by surprise by this action. Well-knowing the magnitude of the scandal, the WTO is working hard to change the host government’s assessments. And so are numerous national politicians and political bodies.”
NGOs and trade unions who work together on WTO issues in the network OWINFS have written two letters to the Director-General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo and voiced our concerns. Read the letters here and here. We have also worked hard to inform the press and have received world-wide coverage.
The government of Argentina included UNI Americas in this list. This took us all by surprise, since UNI Americas has been holding events in the country since its founding. In addition, a significant number of our affiliates are from Argentina and at no time have we encountered difficulties in participating or carrying out activities in the country. This year we participated and held meetings in Buenos Aires and other cities of Argentina.
With the support of the president of UNI Americas, Rubén Cortina, and Héctor Daer, Vice President of UNI Americas and also General Secretary of the CGT, we have used all institutional channels to clarify the situation and solve this issue to allow the presence of UNI's delegation at this important meeting.
UNI Global Union together with trade union colleagues from the ITUC will continue to show our solidarity with those organizations that still face restrictions on their participation. We will do everything possible to ensure that their voices are heard during the meeting.
Stay posted for daily updates from Buenos Aires – there is little doubt that the next 10 days will be crucial for us all