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Thursday, Jun 20, 2002

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Ecuador banana crisis causes concern

G. Chandrashekhar

MUMBAI, June 19

THE International Union of Food and Agricultural Workers' Associations (IUF) has taken serious exception to the massive violence against striking banana plantation workers in Ecuador.

Several instances of human rights violation by plantation owners have been reported following an upsurge in union activity demanding better working conditions.

Ecuador is one of world's leading exporters of banana and owes its position to the appalling social conditions on its banana plantations. Although as many as three lakh workers are engaged in the industry, few are able to exercise their basic right to freedom of association, IUF said.

Human Rights Watch — a non-government organisation — has documented how some companies have built their business empire through repression of labour. It has reported widespread child labour, appalling living conditions and working conditions, including the spraying of toxic pesticides on workers in the fields.

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Ecuador banana crisis causes concern

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