Trade Unionists Forced to Flee Homes in Central Colombia After Authorities Refuse Protection
News from Colombia |
on: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Two trade union leaders have been forced to flee their homes and jobs after the Colombian authorities ignored their requests for help. Cesar Augusto Tamayo, the President of the ASOGRAS trade union, and his colleague Rosendo Duarte fled the region of Santander on April 30th after receiving no response to an urgent request sent to the Colombian authorities days before asking for their lives to be protected. Two members of ASOGRAS have already been assassinated this year and Mr Tamayo, as reported on here, was the victim of an assassination attempt three weeks ago.
The Colombian authorities have still not responded to the April 22nd request for urgent protection for the two men and, due to the dangers involved, international volunteers from the International Peace Observatory had to accompany the two men out of Santander province to safety. It is believed that an army-backed paramilitary death squad is hunting the two trade unionists in an attempt to eliminate the remaining leaders of ASOGRAS.
As well as the two murders of ASOGRAS activists in January this year, another ten activists in the union have been arbitrarily detained and seven others forced to leave the region with their families. The union has asked for messages of protest to be sent from around the world to the Colombian authorities demanding that they take action to safeguard the lives of ASOGRAS leaders, activists and members.
Please consider sending a message to one of the following:
Colombian Embassy to the UK and Ireland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Colombian Ambassador to the USA: email@example.com
Colombian Ambassador to Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org
Colombian Ambassador to Australia: email@example.com
Colombian Ambassador to Brussels: firstname.lastname@example.org