International Union Mission Reports on Colombia Visit

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 31 March 2008

A mission to Colombia arranged by the global union federation UNI has reported on "systematic murders" of trade unionists and how the Colombian Government "continues its attitude of denial, turning a blind eye to the seriousness of the murders." The mission was sent following the murder of Leonidas Gomez read more



Regional Visit Strengthens UK-Colombia Trade Union Links

Justice For Colombia News | on: Sunday, 30 March 2008

A highly successful visit by three Colombian activists to the North of England has strengthened region to region links and produced proposals to explore a number of practical projects to assist trade unions in southwest Colombia.The visitors, all from Valle del Cauca department, were in the UK as guests of read more



Washington Post Reports Increase in Army Killing Civilians

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 30 March 2008

An article in today's Washington Post newspaper has reported on the growing number of extra-judicial executions of civilians being perpetrated by the Colombian Army. The victims, who are murdered and then dressed in combat fatigues, are subsequently presented as guerrillas killed in combat in an effort to show positive read more



Colombian Army on Killing Spree in Tolima Region

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 29 March 2008

At least eight civilians have been murdered by Colombian soldiers during a military operation in the central Colombian department of Tolima. The killings, in the municipalities of Chaparral and Planadas, have been accompanied by death threats, harassment and intense persecution of residents in both municipalities. Local people report read more



Colombian Military Links CUT Trade Union Federation to Guerrillas

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 29 March 2008

After arresting an alleged member of the ELN guerrilla group in Colombia, military authorities have shown the man on television with documents "proving" his guerrilla activities. The documents in question are the entirely legal and public conclusions of the 5th Congress of the CUT trade union federation which was read more



Public Talk in London by Colombian Student Leader

Justice For Colombia News | on: Friday, 28 March 2008

Justice for Colombia (JFC) will host a visit by Colombian student leader, Numa Paredes, from March 28th to April 4th. Mr Paredes will be speaking at the Trade Unions Conference (TUC) Young Members' conference this weekend in Manchester and at the National Union of Students (NUS) conference in Blackpool at read more



Army Attacking Civilians in Cauca Department

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 28 March 2008

Human rights groups have reported that two Colombian Army units are carrying out systematic human rights violations in the southern region of Cauca. Cases of torture, harassment, arbitrary detention and physical attacks have all been documented in recent days in what locals describe as a continuing Army offensive against read more



Union Leader Arrested

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 28 March 2008

A leader of the Colombian agricultural workers' trade union SINDAGRICULTORES has been arrested in the department of Sucre after his home was raided by a large number of soldiers, marines and police officers at 2am on Thursday 27th March. Union officer Manuel de Jesus Reyes, was taken to the read more



Fears for Safety of Peace Community

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 27 March 2008

The peace community of San Jose de Apartado in northwest Colombia has accused the Colombian Army and local paramilitary death squads of planning to massacre them. Three incidents in recent days have heightened fears that an attack is immienent. Hundreds of residents of the peace community have been read more



Bombing Injures 25 Civilians

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Colombian Air Force has bombed a remote Afro-Colombian community on the border of the departments of Cauca and Valle. At least 25 civilians have been injured, some of them seriously. Human rights groups have called for an international mission to visit the region to verify what is read more



Human Rights Groups Accuse Colombian Regime of Endangering Activists

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Below is the text of a letter that 24 human rights organisations yesterday sent to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The letter expresses alarm about the recent wave of threats and attacks against Colombian human rights and trade union activists, and accuses the Colombian regime of making dangerous statements that read more



Construction Union Leader Wounded in Assassination Attempt

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Colombian construction workers trade union, SUTIMAC, has denounced the attempted murder of Eduardo Arevalo, a member of their National Executive Committee. During the attack, which occured in the city of Barranquilla, Mr Arevalo was shot in the leg. His union have alleged that the attempt on his read more



Johann Hari: Why is Britain Allowing Money and Weapons to Pass into the Hands of Right-Wing Militias

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 25 March 2008

In an article published by The Independent on Monday March 24, Johann Hari argues that photos of Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells with Colombian army units accused of murder and gross human rights abuses show the "dark side" of British foreign policy. .Johann Hari: Why is Britain allowing money and read more



Miners Union Leader Tortured and Murdered

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A regional leader of the Colombian union representing coal miners, SINTRACARBON, has been found dead after assassins broke into his home in the city of Riohacha on March 22nd and tortured him to death. In a communiqué SINTRACARBON have blamed the Colombian Government for the killing.Adolfo Gonzalez Montes, the read more



Mass Displacement in Meta Department

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Operations carried out by rightwing paramilitary groups and troops of the Colombian Army in the central Colombian department of Meta have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in recent weeks. Around half of the victims are from remote indigenous tribes who have been forced to flee the read more



Soldiers and Paramilitaries Carry Out Massacre in Narino Department

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 24 March 2008

A paramilitary death squad collaborating with troops of the 14th and 19th Brigades of the Colombian Army have massacred three men and disappeared another in the municipality of Ricaute in the department of Narino in southwest Colombia.The joint operation occurred on March 22nd after paramilitaries and soldiers went into the read more



JFC Welcomes Howells’ Clarification

Justice For Colombia News | on: Sunday, 23 March 2008

Justice for Colombia has welcomed the clarification from Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells regarding his recent comments concerning JFC's alleged support for the FARC guerrilla group. In a letter sent to JFC President Brendan Barber, Dr Howells states "I do not believe that Justice for Colombia or British trade read more



Smear Endangers Colombian Group

Justice For Colombia News | on: Sunday, 23 March 2008

On Saturday 22nd March The Guardian newspaper printed a letter from a group of British lawyers and journalists who participated in a 2006 Justice for Colombia fact-finding mission to Colombia. In their letter the group expressed outrage at recent remarks made by Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells connecting JFC read more



Curfew Imposed by Paramilitaries in Bogota

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 23 March 2008

Parts of two poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in the Colombian capital Bogota have seen a 10pm curfew imposed by a rightwing paramilitary group. The paramilitaries have also been issuing death threats and carrying out an increasing number of selective assassinations in the 'Ciudad Bolivar' and 'Altos de Cazuca' neighbourhoods – between read more



Army Executes Human Rights Activist

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 22 March 2008

Less than two months after they killed a leading peace campaigner, the Calibio Battalion of the Colombian Army have murdered a human rights activst and peasant leader in the same area. 42-year-old Luis Horacio Ladino Guzman was killed on March 19th at 9am by troops who later claimed that read more



ITUC Denounces Assassinations of Ten Colombian Trade Unionists

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 22 March 2008

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), an organisation representing 168 million workers in 155 countries around the world, has written to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez condemning the assassinations of ten Colombian trade unionists in the first few months of this year and saying that the Colombia "authorities appear to read more



Unions Withdraw Howells Invitation

Justice For Colombia News | on: Saturday, 22 March 2008

An invitation to Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells to participate in the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1968 Hornsey College of Art occupation (an event in which Dr Howells played a leading role) has been withdrawn as a result of the accusations made by Dr Howells against Justice for Colombia. read more



Tribune Magazine Leads with Colombia Article

Justice For Colombia News | on: Friday, 21 March 2008

A photograph of Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells is on the front cover of this week's Tribune magazine. In the controversial photo Howells is seen with Colombian Army General Mario Montoya who has been accused of links to paramilitary death squads and drugs traffickers. Inside the magazine Tribune read more



LA Times Reports on Increase in Army Murders

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 21 March 2008

The Los Angeles Times has reported on the ongoing rise in cases of Colombian Army units murdering civilians and then presenting their bodies as guerrillas killed in combat. The article points out that both troops and their commanders have been given cash and promotions for upping their units' body read more



Heavy Fighting Endangers Civilian Population

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 21 March 2008

A week of intense combat between the Colombian military and the FARC guerrilla group in southern Colombia is putting the lives of hundreds of people at risk. The fighting, in the Toribio area of Cauca department, has already seen one civilian killed and 13 others injured. Indiscriminate attacks read more



Trade Unions Call for Foreign Office Minister to Go

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 20 March 2008

Britain's largest trade unions have condemned comments by Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells and say that he should resign or be sacked if he does not withdraw them. Unite, UNISON and the GMB, the three largest unions, as well as the CWU and ASLEF, have all denounced the Minister read more



Teachers' Union Condemns Kim Howells

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 20 March 2008

The British Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) have passed an emergency motion at their conference condemning Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells for remarks he made about Colombia and about Justice for Colombia. The full motion, which was proposed by ATL President Julia Neal, is re-produced here.EMERGENCY RESOLUTIONConference condemns read more



Soldiers Abduct Peasant Farmer

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 20 March 2008

Soldiers, from the notorious 30th Brigade of the Colombian Army, have abducted peasant farmer Jose del Carmen Duran from his home in the village of Costa Rica in the Teorama area of Norte de Santander department. The soldiers raided Mr Duran's home on March 18th and interrogated him for read more



Colombian Student Leader at NUS Conference

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A leading Colombian student activist will be attending the conference of the National Union of Students (NUS) later this month. Numa Paredes, who was forced to leave his home city of Cali due to death threats, will be speaking at an event during the conference that JFC has organised read more



Soldiers Assassinate Two Trade Unionists, Disappear One

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Union activists Manuel Antonio Jimenez and Jose Fernando Quiroz have been assassinated by Colombian soldiers in the southern region of Putumayo. On March 16th troops from the same unit responsible for the killings, the 27th Brigade, also took away union member Ivan Vientimilla. He has not been seen read more



Husband of FARC Hostage Accuses Colombian Regime of Hampering Release

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The husband of high-profile FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt said on Monday that Betancourt would have been released if the Colombian military had not raided the rebels' camp in Ecuador earlier this month."If they had not killed this guerrilla, she may even have been freed, because on March 14 and 15 read more



Parliamentarians Complain to Foreign Secretary Over Howells’ Remarks, Reiterate Support for JFC

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 19 March 2008

On behalf of 147 of their colleagues in Parliament, four Labour MPs have written to the Foreign Secretary expressing their "anger" at comments made by Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells in which he attempted to link Justice for Colombia to the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia. The MPs also read more



Justice for Colombia Statement on Remarks by FCO Minister Kim Howells

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Justice for Colombia (JFC) has requested that Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells clarifies a quote attributed to him in the March 15th edition of the Western Mail newspaper. In the quote Mr Howells alleges that JFC supports the leftwing FARC guerrilla group in Colombia.Like the Colombian trade union movement, read more



UK Government Hosts Colombia Counter-Insurgency Lecture

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The British Foreign Office (FCO) last week hosted a counter-insurgency seminar at their Wilton Park conference centre in southern England. One of the keynote speakers invited by the FCO was Colombian Vice-Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzon. The invitation was made despite Amnesty International describing Colombia's counter-insurgency strategy read more



JFC Meeting at TUC Young Members Conference

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 17 March 2008

Justice for Colombia has arranged a joint meeting with Unite, Britain's largest trade union, to take place during TUC Young Members Conference in Manchester on Saturday 29th March. All conference delegates are invited to attend. Colombian student leader Numa Paredes, who is in the UK to attend the read more



Thousands of Colombians Displaced into Ecuador

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 17 March 2008

A new report has claimed that there may be more than 600,000 displaced Colombians living in neighbouring Ecuador. The Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service, who produced the new study on March 14th, say that in an unofficial survey they found 20,000 unregistered Colombians living in one neighbourhood of the read more



Parliamentarians Urge British Ambassador to Condemn President Uribe’s Anti-Trade Union Comments

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 17 March 2008

A letter from 56 British Members of Parliament has called on the British Ambassador to Colombia to condemn 'dangerous' comments made by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in which he attempted to draw a link between trade unionists and the guerrilla movement. JFC understands that although a holding reply has read more



Raid on Trade Union Federation Office in Bogota

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 17 March 2008

Six unidentified men have raided the offices of the CGT trade union federation's training centre in the Colombian capital Bogota. The men, who arrived in two vehicles, stole a computer and a computer memory stick containing important information about the work carried out by the training centre. The read more



Peasant Farmers Call on Army to End Executions

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 15 March 2008

A national campaign of solidarity was yesterday launched in the Colombian capital Bogota to draw attention to the ongoing murders of peasant farmers by soldiers operating in the 'Rio Cimitarra' region of central Colombia. At the launch event human rights groups reported on 15 cases from the region where read more



United Nations Denounces Increase in Threats

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 14 March 2008

The Colombia Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed "profound preoccupation" at the increase in death threats and killings aimed at human rights defenders and other civil society leaders in the aftermath of the national day to commemorate victims of state violence that was held on read more



Human Rights Abuses in Colombia: Statement from Wales TUC Executive Committee

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 13 March 2008

The following statement about Colombia was agreed at the Wales TUC Executive Committee on the 12 March 2008:The Wales TUC Executive Committee calls on the UK Government to withdraw all military aid to Colombia and to replace it with humanitarian aid. We further demand that the Colombian Government takes action read more



Health Workers Union Leader Murdered

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 13 March 2008

The body of a leading member of the Colombian health workers trade union ANTHOC has been discovered after he was first reported as disappeared on March 9th. Carlos Burbano, who was found murdered on March 12th, was a member of the ANTHOC Executive in the department of Caqueta. According read more



British Minister Loses Union's Support Over Aid to Colombia

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Today's Guardian newspaper has reported that Britain's largest trade union is urging members not to campaign for Labour MP Kim Howells due to his ongoing support for Colombian military units that have murdered trade unionists. Howells is the Minister responsible for British relations with Colombia and was recently photographed read more



US Govt Reports Increase in Killings & Torture in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 12 March 2008

In a far ranging new report on the human rights situation in Colombia, the US State Department has documented an increase in assassinations, torture and forced displacement in Colombia. The report also cites continuing collaboration between the Colombian security forces and paramilitary groups and says that "such collaboration often read more



Environmental Groups Call on US Congress to Oppose Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fiends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, two of the largest environmental organisations in the United States, sent US Congressmen a letter last week calling on them to oppose consideration of a Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the US. Their letter says that, "given the ongoing environmental read more



Union Threatens to Withdraw Funding from Labour Minister over Colombia Concerns

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A front page story in today's Western Mail reports that Andy Richards, the leader of the Welsh section of Unite, Britain's largest trade union, has vowed to strip British Minister Kim Howells of his political sponsorship because of the Minister's "reckless and wholly unacceptable" support for the Colombian Army. read more



Paramilitary Alleges Army Involvement in Massacre

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The former leader of one of Colombia's right-wing paramilitary death squads, Herbert Veloza, also known as 'H.H', has testified that the Colombian Army helped organize a four-day massacre in April 2001 during which an estimated 120 people were murdered and more than 4,000 forced to flee their homes.The massacre, in read more



Fringe Meeting at TUC Women’s Conference

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 10 March 2008

Justice for Colombia has arranged a fringe meeting on Latin America at this week's TUC Women's conference in Eastbourne. The fringe, which has been organised in conjunction with other Latin American solidarity organisations, will focus on the role that women have played in the struggles for trade union and read more



AFL-CIO: No Free Trade With Colombia Until Workers' Rights Are Respected

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 10 March 2008

During its convention last week, the U.S. trade union federation, The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), released a statement which said they would not support a U.S. government promoted free trade agreement with Colombia because of the repression of Colombia's labour movement. The AFL-CIO union read more



Finance Union Leader Killed

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 10 March 2008

The brutally murdered body of a leading member of the Colombian bank workers trade union has been found in his home in the Colombian capital Bogota. As well as sitting on the National Executive of finance union UNEB, Leonidas Gomez Rozo, was an active member of the Polo Democratico read more



Two Teacher Trade Unionists Assassinated

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 9 March 2008

Two active trade unionists in the Colombian teachers' trade union FECODE have been shot and killed in different regions of the country. Nobody has been arrested for either attack.The most recent killing, on March 7th, took place in the region of Antioquia where Gildardo Antonio Gomez was gunned down. read more



Children’s Rights Groups Open Legal Case Against Colombian Military

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 March 2008

A coalition of organisations that campaign for the rights or children have opened a legal case against the Colombian Ministry of Defence in an effort to try and ensure that the Colombian Army stop using school buildings as military posts. The Colombian Army has been repeatedly condemned for putting read more



Hundreds of Thousands March in Support of Colombia’s Victims

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 March 2008

Promoted by the National Movement of Victims and supported by hundreds of civil society organisations, March 6th was a day of remembrance for those tortured, murdered and killed by the Colombian regime. It was also a day of protest against the ongoing abuses. All around the world people read more



Paramilitary Abuses Continue

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 March 2008

Colombian paramilitaries with links to the state security forces have assassinated one man and kidnapped and tortured another. The murdered man came from a family of human rights defenders whilst the individual who was tortured was a member of the 'Wayuu' indigenous group.The killing of 21-year-old Felipe Buitrago Galeano read more



Protest Highlights Ongoing State-Sponsored Violence in Colombia, Calls for End to UK Military Aid

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 6 March 2008

Over 200 people today attended a vigil in front of the British Parliament to commemorate the victims of state-sponsored violence in Colombia and call on the British Government to end their policy of providing military aid to the Colombian regime. The vigil, organised by Justice for Colombia and the read more



US/Colombian ‘War on Drugs’ Not Working

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 6 March 2008

A new report on the US-sponsored anti-narcotics aerial fumigation program in Colombia describes the policy as a "failure" that has not diminished cocaine production. The report also mentions "the adverse effects on human health and the environment due to exposure to the spray chemicals".Released at the end of February read more



World Wide Support for March 6th Events

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tomorrow will see protest events held around the world in support of the victims of violence in Colombia. The day of action, called for by the National Movement of Victims, has received the backing of the international trade union movement as well as numerous high profile individuals both in read more



Indigenous Man Killed

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The North Cauca Association of Indigenous Authorities (ACIN) has reported that 24-year-old Jonh Fredy Chate, a member of the 'Cerro Tijeras' indigenous community, was killed when shots were fired at him by unknown assailants as traveled to the village of Bellavista on March 2nd. A teenager, Yulenin Almendra, from read more



British Political Figures Call for an End to UK Military Aid to Colombia

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 4 March 2008

On March 6th British political figures will renew their call for the British government to end its military aid to Colombia. The call will be made at a vigil in London commemorating the victims of state-sponsored violence in Colombia and calling for an end to the ongoing human rights abuses read more



Reporter Receives Threats

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 4 March 2008

A Colombian journalist in the city of Ibague, Tolima department, has received death threats following his criticism of the inadequacies in regional Government construction programs. Family members of Jose Salaz Trujillo, an active member of the journalists' trade union ASOPRENSA, have also received threats.The treats began on February 21st read more



Death of Detained Union Leader

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Justice for Colombia is deeply saddened by the death of Eliberto Poveda, the 60-year-old President of the Sumapaz Agricultural Workers' Union, SINTRAPAZ. Mr Poveda, who was detained by soldiers in October 2007, had recently been released from jail due to illness and died at his home whilst under house read more



British-Trained Military Units Terrorise Civilian Population

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 3 March 2008

Two British-trained High Mountain Battalions of the Colombian Army are involved in an ongoing military operation in the Colombian department of Tolima which has seen thousands of civilians surrounded and prevented from leaving a large rural valley. The trapped civilians, mainly peasant farmers, have been subjected to four weeks read more



Colombia Intercepts Cards from MPs

Justice For Colombia News | on: Sunday, 2 March 2008

The Colombian government has broken a promise to MPs to deliver messages to a woman imprisoned for over a year without trial, Tribune can reveal.A number of Labour politicians signed the Christmas cards - printed by Unite the union as part of a campaign in support of the trade union read more



Human Rights Activists and Trade Unionists Threatened

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 2 March 2008

February saw a big increase in paramilitary threats to kill civil society activists in the central coffee growing region of Colombia, known as the 'Eje Cafetero'. Among those threatened were trade unionist Yerly Mauricio Cubides, human rights activists Guillermo Castano and Luz Adriana Gonzalez and leaders of the public read more



Afro-Colombian Communities Under Attack

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 1 March 2008

Military operations in south western Colombia are putting the lives of hundreds of Afro-Colombians living in remote rural communities at risk according to reports from the region. Bombing and machine gun fire from military aircraft has already destroyed the homes of two families.The armed forces moved into the region read more