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, which we exist to support, Justice for Colombia condemns all violence. We want to see an end to the killing of trade unionists, and the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for their deaths including sections of the Colombian army. Until such time as the Colombian government ends their collusion we are calling on the British government to freeze all military aid and replace it with humanitarian aid.

Instead of responding to the legitimate concerns raised about British policy in Colombia, Kim Howells is making unfounded allegations with no basis in reality.

Such comments threaten to put the lives of our project partners trade unionists, journalists and human rights defenders in grave danger. If he is quoted accurately he should immediately and publicly withdraw his ill-informed comments.

Jeremy Dear (Chair), General Secretary of the NUJ

Keith Sonnet (Vice-Chair), Deputy General Secretary of UNISON

Dr Angela Roger (Vice-Chair), Secretary of UCU Scotland

Adrian Askew, General Secretary of Connect

Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the ATL

Maggie Bowden, General Secretary of Liberation

Brian Caton, General Secretary of the POA

Steve Cottingham, Partner at OH Parsons & Partners Solicitors

Debbie Coulter, GMB Deputy General Secretary

Marie Daley, National Executive Member of UCU

Gary Fabian, Trustee of the Nick Burdon & Denis Blockley Memorial Fund

Tom Harrison, President of Accord

Mike Jenkins, Partner at Leo Abse & Cohen Solicitors

Steve Jones, National Executive Member of CWU

Sally Kosky, Head of Organising of Unite

Hugh Lanning, Deputy General Secretary of PCS

Paddy Lillis, Deputy General Secretary of USDAW

Karen Mitchell, Partner at Thompsons Solicitors

Paul Noon, General Secretary of Prospect

Ken Penton, Head of Communications, Community

Andy Reed, National Organiser of ASLEF

Sue Rogers, National Treasurer of the NASUWT

Gemma Tumelty, President of the NUS

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