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Urgent mobilization - Guatemalan Migrant Rights Defender Receives Death Threats

Date and time

2013.06.16 to 2013.06.30, 9:00 AM to 9:00 AM

Description

José Sicajau Xoc, president of Guatemalan United for Our Rights Association (AGUND) and ally of UFCW Canada receives death threats.

José Sicajau Xoc, president of the Guatemalan United for Our Rights Association, is seeking the support of the international community in general and Canadian civil society to put pressure on the Guatemalan and Canadian government to guarantee his safety and physical integrity, as well as that of all members of AGUND. This call for solidarity comes after Mr. Sicajau recently received repeated phone calls with macabre death threats and several attempts to break into AGUND facilities.

José Sicajau is a Guatemalan peasant who traveled to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW). In 2006, after he supported the complaint of a fellow Mexican who was beaten by the employer on a Quebec farm, Joseph was expelled from the program. At the time, the Canadian Ministries of Human Resources and Skill Development, Citizenship and Immigration Canada as well as the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala, received a well-documented denunciation of the incident and decided to wash their hands, transferring the responsibility to the Guatemalan government. Neither the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor nor the Minister of Foreign Affairs intervened to protect the rights of Mr. Sicajau. The truth is that temporary worker programs in Canada are controlled by Canadian employers’ associations and recruiters abroad: they have carte blanche to exploit and intimidate workers, with the tacit approval of the Canadian authorities and the impotence of the Guatemalan authorities. The lack of control and transparency in the recruitment process creates a fertile ground for abuse and intimidation. The Canadian authorities should regulate and legislate the selection and recruitment of workers abroad, and create mechanisms to ensure that employers and recruiters respect the fundamental rights of all workers regardless of their origin.

Mr. Sicajau is an ally of UFCW Canada, and through the Guatemalan United for Our Rights Association, denounced Temporary Worker Programs in Canada and the United States, noting the ease with which employers exploit and abuse a vulnerable, precarious, flexible and disposable workforce. His struggle is also the hundreds of migrants worldwide who have been unfairly excluded from temporary work programs for demanding their rights without receiving support from governments in countries of origin or destination.

Mr. Sicajau presented a complaint in recent days to the appropriate authorities. However, the AGUND and its members lack protection or means to secure it by themselves. For this reason, they are asking the international community and the labor movement to send a letter to the Attorney General's Office, urging him to ensure the safety and physical integrity of Mr. Sicajau and that of all members of AGUND. Likewise, UFCW Canada invites you to send a letter to HRSDC and CIC to demand to extend diplomatic protection to Mr. Sicajau, as well as their immediate intervention in regulating the recruitment and selection of temporary work programs.

Coordinated by

File Attachments

Links



  • To send a letter to the Guatemalan government (http://www.ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3509%3Aurgent-mobilization-guatemalan-migrant-rights-defender-receives-death-threats&catid=82%3Aissues&Itemid=401&lang=en#form)


  • To send a letter to the Canadian government (http://www.ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3509%3Aurgent-mobilization-guatemalan-migrant-rights-defender-receives-death-threats&catid=82%3Aissues&Itemid=401&lang=en#form2)

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Support initiatives

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Journalists, Public awareness, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Federal, Guatemala, and National relevance

Languages

French and English