Colombia Solidarity Campaign
PO Box 8446,
London N17 6NZ

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Human Rights Report for August 2001

The following has been compiled as an English summary of several original reports by Jesus Gonzalez, Director of the CUT's Human Rights Department. According to our figures, 91 Colombian trade unionists have been assassinated so far this year up to the end of August.


Through its Human Rights Department, the Colombian Workers Federation "CUT" denounces the constant outrages against those who are trying to defend the right to work and to live.


On 9th August teacher and union leader JHON JAIRO OCAMPO FRANCO came to finish his work at education training centre in the city of Armenia in Quind’o Department. He was the victim of an attempt on his life using fire arms which left his face seriously injured. The comrade is Treasurer of the Quin’o Teachers Union, SUTEQ, and hence a member of FECODE the CUT affiliate.


On 13th August SEGUNDO FLORENTINO CHAVEZ, General Secretary of the Dagua Official Workers and Public Employees Trade Union was assassinated. The murder was committed by armed men at the union's office in Dagua Municipality, which is in Valle de Cauca Department. Our comrade had received many threats, which on repeated occasions he had reported to the National Government, urgently demanding that security measures be taken. On 10th July 2001 the Interior Ministry Protection Programme approved a scheme for union leaders, including Florentino. But the approval had a [qualifying] note, "subject
to budget".


One Day in August
At 8.45 pm on 16th August MANUEL PAJARO PEINADO was assassinated at his home. He was Treasurer of the Baranquilla District Public Services Union - SINDIBA. This comrade had been seeking inclusion in the Interior Ministry Protection Programme, but had not receievd a positive response, despite the fact that DAS state security officials had carried out a security study. This event took place as the union was mounting a series of protests against the application of Law 617 by the District Administration, with the objective of massive lay-offs and thereby liquidating trade union organisation.


The CUT Regional Executive in Atl‡ntico Department has been very threatened and this situation is getting more serious. Actions against its leaders are incessant. Two condolence cards arrived at the CUT office in Barranquilla, warning comrades EDGAR PUA (Treasurer) and JOSƒ MERI„O (Auditor) of the Atl‡ntico Section of ANTHOC, Association of Workers and Employees in Hospitals, Clinics and Organisations Dedicating to Protecting the Health of the Community that they just 12 hours to leave the city. Both comrades had received a previous warning on 6th June. A communique was left under the door, it threatened the death of comrade GUSTAVO VILLANUEVA, who is the director of the Polonuevo section of ANTHOC and a member of the Atl‡ntico section of the union. And we have been unofficially informed that a heavily armed group of men are following two other executive members of this union, JESòS TOVAR (Auditor) and ILDIS JARAVA (Treasurer) to their homes in order to execute them.


Also on 16th August, three members of SINTRAELECOL, the Electricity Workers Union of Colombia, all members of the Branch Executive Committee in Fusagasuga, in Cundinamarca Department, fell victim to an assassination attack as they left their workplace at 5.30pm. DORIS LOZANO Nò„EZ of the Claims Committee, was killed, and Education Secretary OMAR GARCIA ANGUILO was seriously injured, while the other comrade got away unhurt.


And on 16th August teacher MIRYAM DE JESòS RIOS MARTêNEZ was assassinated in El Ingenio village in San Rafael Municipality, Antiquia Department. She was a member of ADIDA, the Antioquia Teachers Association.


That same day teacher HECTOR EDUARDO CORTEZ ARROYABE from the village of Copacabana in Barbosa Municipality, Antioquia department, was disappeared. His murdered body was found on 18th August in the village of La Tolda.
And finally on 16th August 2001, the AUC paramilitary organisation presented an ultimatum to members of SINTRAOFAN, the Antioquia Official Municipal Workers Union, in the municipality of Andes, that if they did not leave the union and renounce their collective bargaining agreement they would be executed.


Assassinations
On 22nd August teacher EVERT ENCIZO was assassinated in the city of Villavicencio in Meta Department. She was Director of La Reliquia School, and her work was directed towards displaced people. She was a member of the Meta Teachers Association, ADEM-CUT.


On 28th August ex-teacher JORGE FREITE ROMERO was disappeared. He had just ended a 22 day protest demanding payment of unpaid monthly pension, and had been experiencing death threats. On 29th August he was assassinated in the road that runs from Cienaga to Baranquilla in Atl‡ntico Department. He was a member of the Atl‡ntico University Retired Peoples Association ASOJUA and stood out for his trade union and human rights efforts.


On 29th August YOLANDA PATERNINA NGRETE was assassinated nearby to her haouse on the city of Soncelejo. In Sucre Department. She was a Special Judge in Public Order, and was in charge of a number of high risk cases. She was a member of the National Association of Functionaries and Employees of the Justice Branch - ASONAL-CUT.


ON 30th August 2001, MIGUEL CHAVEZ was assassinated in the village of Playa Rica in Tambo Municiplaity, Cauca Department. He was a member of the executive of the Tambo Branch of the Association of Workers and Employees in Hospitals, Clinics and Organisations Dedicating to Protecting the Health of the Community ANTHOC-CUT and used to work in Tambo Hospital and as a health promoter in Planeta Rica village.

Kidnappings
On 20th August 2001 WINSGTON JORGE TOVAR MESA was kidnapped in the area of Dagua Municipality, Valle de Cauca by an armed group. He is a member of the National Association of Functionaries and Employees of the Justice Branch - ASONAL-CUT.


On 21st August ALVARI ALBERTO AGUDELO USUGA was kidnapped by an armed group in the Mesopotamia distict of La Uni—n Municipality in Antioquia. The cpomrade is a Municipal Judge in Medell’n and a member of the National Association of Functionaries and Employees of the Justice Branch - ASONAL-CUT.


SEND PROTESTS
To President Pastrana
E-mail: rdh@presidencia.gov.co Fax: 00571 3362109 / 337 1351 / 2867434 / 286 6842


With copies to:
CUT Trade Union Federation, Departmento Derechos Humanos, Calle 35 No 7-25 Piso 9, Bogota, Colombia. Tel/Fax: 00571 288 8577 / 323 7550 E-mail: cutcol@col3.telecom.com.co
and Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ E-mail: colombia_sc@hotmail.com