On 22 July 2011, Norway was devastated by a terrible attack on government buildings in Oslo and a massacre of young people taking part in a youth summer camp for the labour movement on the island of Utøya. As was the case with the entire international community, Global March was deeply shocked by the awful carnage and chaos that these attacks caused for the people of Norway, especially the family members of those who were killed and injured.
It was distressing to witness such terrible incidents reaching the shores of such a peace-loving and peaceful country that has contributed so much itself to global development and peace over the years. Indeed, Global March Chairperson Kailash Satyarthi had been in Oslo a short time before these devastating attacks for discussions with the trade union confederation LO-Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on possible support for child labour programmes. The pain and suffering of many innocent people and families are unimaginable and it will take a long time for Norwegian society to recover from such a tragedy.
Immediately following the news of the attacks, Global March, on behalf of the International Secretariat, Governing Board and membership, wrote to LO-Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express its deep sadness, condolences and sympathies. Given that the young people injured and killed in Utøya were attending a labour youth camp, many of them were linked to LO-Norway which was a further devastating blow for the organisation and the political labour movement. Global March went to express the hope that Norway and its people would come through this difficult time intact, courageous and defiant against those who would seek to hurt this proud nation.
On 1st August, Global March received a moving response to its message from the President of LO-Norway and this is reproduced in full below.
LO-Norway is deeply grateful for the condolences sent by all of you. It is very important for us to know that you are with us in these painful times.
An incredible tragedy has hit The Labour Party Youth, the labour movement in Norway, and our country as a nation. Hundreds of young people have been killed, wounded or traumatised by the shameful acts of terror.
It is difficult to grasp that Norway’s labour movement in a few hours lost so many of tomorrow’s leaders. July 22 2011 will forever be remembered as the darkest day in the history of the labour movement of Norway.
Many of the victims that took part in the summer camp at Utøya belong to the member unions of LO. Many of them have positions in the union. They are the spine of LO’s youth work. We now know that some of them are among the missing, and possibly killed, in the horrendous attack on Utøya.
The bomb attack on the government buildings in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya show the vulnerability of an open society like ours. But we will show how important and deeply rooted this open democratic society is. Norway will become stronger and more united as a result of the attack.
Thank you very much for your solidarity and sympathy.
In deep sorrow,