Colombian trade unionist and former political prisoner visits the UK and Ireland
Justice For Colombia News |
on: Friday, 16 December 2011
Rosalba Gaviria Toro, executive member of FENSUAGRO, the Colombian agricultural workers' trade union, visited the UK and Ireland last week hosted by Justice for Colombia and UNITE. Rosalba, who was unjustly accused of “rebellion” in March 2009 and imprisoned for more than two years, before being released following a Justice for Colombia campaign, spoke at several union events about her personal experience and the plight of hundreds of political prisoners in Colombia.
In addition to speaking at the National Sector Conference of UNITE the Union, the itinerary included the Latin America Conference 2011, a BBC interview, meetings with British MPs, Amnesty International and public events in London, Manchester and Wales. The events marked an historic occasion, as many of those taking part had campaigned for Rosalba’s release and now shared a platform with her as a free woman.
Rosalba also visited Ireland to meet with the many trade unionists and others who campaigned for her release in that country, including two Irish school girls who had taken on her campaign as part of their weekly citizenship classes. This visit in particular attracted a considerable amount of press in Ireland, including an article in the Irish Times. In response there was a fierce exchange of letters published in the newspaper, first from the Colombian Ambassador which denied that political pressure had helped secure her freedom, which was replied to by Jack O’Connor, President of Irish Trade Union SIPTU and President of Justice for Colombia Ireland.