WFTU STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE DIRTY WAR AGAINST COLOMBIAN TRADE UNIONISTS AND PEOPLE’S LEADERS - WARNS THAT THE STATE OF INTERNAL EMERGENCY PROCLAIMED BY NEW GOVERNMENT WILL FURTHER INCREASE VIOLATIONS OF TRADE UNION RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN COLOMBIA3 September 2002
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and its affiliated trade union organisations in all continents strongly condemns the brutal assassinations and repression on Colombian trade union and political leaders, including arrests, attempts at murder, “disappearances” and threats to life, which have multiplied after the recent introduction of the state of internal emergency by the new government of M. Uribe.
During the recent weeks (since 15 August), several trade union leaders have been assassinated, including FELIPE SANTIAGO MENDOZA, member of USO; AMPARO FIGUEROA, leader of ANTHOC and FRANCISCO MENDEZ DIAS, member of the ADESFECODE. On 13 August, there was an attempt by armed gangs on the life of OMAR ROMERO DIAZ, leader of SUTIMAC.. On 29 August, over fifty workers and trade unionists were arrested, including FLOWER ANRIQUE ROJAS, President of the Municipal Workers Union in Cali. Earlier, another group of trade unionists in Antioquia were assassinated.
The international community expressed its indignation over the raid by the army on the residence of ANTONIO GONZALES LUNA, Director of the Human Rights Department and leader of the CUT of Colombia.
On 31 August, ADOLFO DE JESUS MUNERA LOPEZ, leader of SINALTRAINAL, who was earlier arbitrarily dismissed from Coca Cola and was fighting for his reinstatement, was assassinated. There was also widespread condemnation of the assassination of DR. JOAQUIN HERNANDEZ, defender of human rights and adviser of trade unions.
On 3 September, a bomb was thrown on the meeting organised by the trade union, SINTRAEMCALI, causing several casualties and huge destruction.
The WFTU calls upon the Colombian government to adopt effective measures for the protection of trade union leaders and social activists, punish all those responsible for these crimes, immediately release all arrested persons and return to dialogue in order to find a negotiated solution to this internal conflict. The consequences of the “Plan Colombia” and the the State of Emergency which annulated all civil liberties, have generated more violence against the civil population.
The WFTU appeals to all affiliated and friendly organisations to further intensify their solidarity actions in support of the struggle of the Colombian workers and people. The WFTU calls upon the UN to take effective measures to contribute to the re-establishment of peace in Colombia.