Thursday, February 26, 2009

Justice for Konstantina Kouneva!

An Attack to One is an Attack to Us All!
Justice for Konstantina Kouneva!
IMA Message of Solidarity
February 25, 2009

Konstantina Kouneva, a 44-year old Bulgarian immigrant in Greece and unionist and secretary of the Attica Union of Cleaners and Domestic Workers, was a victim of a murderous attack last December 22, 2008. On her way home, she was brutally assaulted by hired thugs of the company she was working for. Sulfuric acid was thrown at her face and poured down her throat.

Konstantina has lost an eye and remains in critical condition. But she has not lost her dignity and her moral strength.

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA), the global alliance of grassroots immigrants, migrant workers and refugees, strongly condemns this barbaric attack on a fellow worker, woman migrant and unionist. This act of extreme violence is a usual trademark of a global capitalist system which victimizes on a daily basis and in various forms the working peoples, both local and migrant, who chose to fight for their rights and freedoms.

It is not far-fetched to conclude that the murder attempt was meant to terrorize the struggling workers physically, politically and psychologically, particularly Konstantina. We do not believe that the horrible attack was accidental. Konstantina is one of among hundreds of female immigrant workers who have been employed as cleaners under the employer company OIKUMET which gets the government contracts for cleaning services. As a militant union organizer, she has been in the front line of campaigns for the rights and welfare of mostly migrant workers denouncing stolen wages and bonuses, non-payment of overtime pay, terrorism in the workplace, depressed working conditions among others. It is well reported that OIKUMET, as the main implementer of these violations, have been harassing Konstantina even before the attack.

Konstantina’s ordeal shook the Greek community and the world to the systematic violation of the cleaner’s work rights and their antiquiated slavery-like work conditions. Yet till now, there has been no result in police investigation as promised by the government more than a month ago.

The attack against Konstantina happened at a time that the global economic crisis is in full swing in Greece which magnified the insecurity of the working class not only with the reality of massive lay-offs but also with corporate and state violence. It happened at a time that Greece seemed to be burning from everyday demonstrations because of the murder of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropolous.

Migrants all over the world empathize with the plight of Konstantina and her co-workers. Especially now under the imperialist globalization-induced world crisis, it is the working people that suffer its brunt. We thus send our deepest and sincerest support to her fight, both for her life as well as her cause. Kontantina’s battlecry for justice is taken by millions of migrants and immigrant workers throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America.

An attack to one of our kind is an attack to us all. We call on all our members and networks to join the tide of struggle in demanding comprehensive justice for Konstantina and to condemn all acts of corporate and state violence against the working peoples of the world.

International Migrants Alliance
The first-ever global alliance of grassroots associations, organizations, unions, networks and alliances of migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and displaced peoples

Founding Assembly - June 2008
Contact the IMA Secretariat at

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