Displaced Trade Unionist Threatened

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 15 May 2012

On 1st May and 2nd April 2012, Jimmy Sneith Ortiz Gutierrez, a peasant farmer and member of SINPREAGRICUN agricultural workers’ trade union and FENSUAGRO affiliate, received two new threats against his life, warning him that despite his having fled to Bogota, his life is still not safe.

The most recent of the threats on 1st May, gave Jimmy 20 days to turn himself in as a guerrilla and stated “Don’t think we don’t know where you are…no one opposes the policies of our government, don’t hide in a simple trade union because we are going to start there…no denouncement can save you”.

Jimmy received a series of threats and face to face intimidations in 2009 and 2010 from members of the 39th Sumapaz Battalion of the army in Arbeláez Cundinamarca, which forced him to flee his home.

The Fensuagro trade union has called for the Colombian government to take urgent measures to protect Jimmy’s life and for guarantees to be provided to the other members of SINPREAGRICUN. It has also called on the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the threats.

The union has asked the international community to rally round to ensure that these measures are carried out. Currently, in 95% of cases, no one is brought to justice for the crimes against trade unionists, and the lack of guarantees for the safety of activists remains a major concern.

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