MEDIA ADVISORY - Mexico's Labour and Human Rights Violations Highlighted at Commemoration of Deadly Mine Disaster

VANCOUVER, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - As attacks on Canadian tourists continue and human and labour rights violations in Mexico escalate, labour and community supporters will gather in downtown Vancouver on Thursday morning to call on the Mexican government of Felipe Calderon to take action.

The event, marking the fifth anniversary of the Pasta de Conchos mine disaster that killed 65 coal miners in Coahuila state, will take place at Harbour Green Park at the corner of West Cordova and Bute, starting at 10:30 am.

"Five years after the Pasta de Conchos mine explosion, we are not forgetting that rescue efforts were abandoned after just five days and that 63 miners remain buried," says USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. "There has also not been a proper investigation and surviving family members have not been adequately compensated."

After denouncing the disaster as "industrial homicide," Mexican Mine and Metal Workers leader Napoleon Gomez received death threats and fled to Canada. Gomez will speak at the event.

Joining Gomez will be Jorge Castillo, secretary general of the Mexican Telephone Workers Union and Martin Esparza, secretary general of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union, whose organizations have been attacked by Mexican authorities.

Speakers include:

Amber Hockin - Canadian Labour Congress
Stephen Hunt - United Steelworkers
Jorge Castillo -  STRM (Mexican Telephone Workers)
Martin Esparza - SME (Mexican Electrical Workers)
Napoleon Gomez - (Mexican Mine and Metal Workers)

Similar events have been held this week in major Canadian cities and 30 other countries, calling for an end to the violent repression of labour and human rights in Mexico.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Stephen Hunt, 604-683-1117, 604-816-2554;
Norman Garcia, 604-683-1117, 604-838-3653


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