Colombia Solidarity Campaign
PO Box 8446,
London N17 6NZ
Tel 07743 743041

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Urgent Action List

As reports on this website and in our bulletin have shown, urgent actions by email and other means can save lives.

It is essential to build up this humanitarian network. If you want to be added to our lists and want to help send messages to Colombia, please send your name and organisation details to

The people of Tabaco, in La Guajira, Colombia, have won a legal victory which may be unprecedented for a rural community in that country. On May 9th, 2002, the Supreme Court of Colombia ruled that the village, demolished last year by mining company Intercor, must be reconstructed on a new site, as the villagers have been demanding.

At about 2:45 p.m. on 18th June 2002, three unknown subjects tried to kidnap KAREN MENDOZA DÕAZ , the four-year-old daughter of our comrade WILLIAM MENDOZA GÓMEZ. KAREN was with her mother LUZ ESTHER DÕAZ in Parque de la Constitución in Barrancabermeja, while she was trying to make a call through a public telephone. [En Español]


Lawyer in BP case threatened
A lawyer and peasants who are suing BP's oil pipeline company have received death threats from paramilitaries in Colombia. Please urgently fax BP's pipeline company, Ocensa, and the governor of Antioquia, expressing your concern. Use the proposed text below or write your own.

Through its Human Rights Department, the United Workers Federation of Colombia, the CUT, denounces to the national and international community the serious situation of state terrorism to which the trade union leadership is submitted in Colombia. From 30th May death threats have increased against comrade Hernando Hernández Pardo, President of the Oil Industry Union USO. [En Español]

Nizkor Int. Human Rights Team - Derechos Human Rights - Serpaj Europe Urgent Solidarity – 08 May02
Ref: Vigia del Fuerte and Bellavista. Request for suspension of military operations. Urges support for humanitarian crisis.

CUT Colombia: 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.

Cali, Colombia 4/08/00 16:05:37
SINTRAEMCALI, Cali, Colombia, is yet again suffering as a result of its attempts to defend public services, rebuild the social fabric of the community, and fight against corruption. We are particularly concerned for the lives and well-being of Ruben Enrique Calvo Zuiga (Identification no C.C16793842), Carlos Alberto Lozada (Identification no C.C16659 269), and Freddy Hernado Salinas Muoz (Identification no C.C16799 246) all SINTRAEMCALI members.

Close From: Andy Higginbottom []   To: undisclosed-recipients  Cc:   Subject: URGENT ACTION: Four Women Trade Unionists Assassinated in Two Weeks  Sent: 8/3/01 9:52 AM  Importance: Normal  Dear Friend, Sadly, the latest report from The Human Rights Department of the CUT records that in the last two weeks of July four women, all trade unionists in the public sector, and a man were assassinated. Another man, a teacher, has been disappeared. As Jesus Gonzalez documents, the repression is now even worse than last year. Please send a protest, especially with respect to JAIRO TOVAR DIAZ, demanding urgent action is taken to establish his whereabouts and obtain his immediate release. ENGLISH TRANSLATION: IN THE FACE OF BARBARITY COLOMBIAN MEN AND WOMEN TRADE UNIONISTS WILL NOT YIELD TO THE TERROR IMPOSED ON US - WE WILL CONTINUE THE RESISTANCE STRUGGLE FOR BETTER CONDITIONS OF WORK AND LIFE! Through its Human Rights Department, the Colombian United Workers Federation, the "CUT", reports the latest barbarous events that have been carried out against our organisation and its leaders. Š On 16th July 2001 nurse LUCILA RINCÓN was assassinated. She was intercepted at a place called La Parroquia on the way from Mariquita to Fresno in Tolima Departament. This criminal act was carried out when the comrade, together with other members of her family who were also assassinated, had been searching for a family member who had been taken by the paramilitaries. The paramilitaries massacred the group. This health worker was an activist of the National Association of Workers and Employees of Hospitals, Clinics and Units Dedicated to the Protection of Community Health - ANTHOC - CUT. Š On 22nd July 2001 teacher OBDULIA MARTÍNEZ was assassinated in Chiriguana Municipality,  Cesar Departament. The incident occurred when they came looking for her at her home, and there she was executed with two shots to the head. The comrade worked at the College of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. She was a member of the Cesar Teachers Association - EDUCESAR - FECODE - CUT. Š On 24th July 2001 teacher SILVIA ROSA ALVAREZ ZAPATA was assassinated. This occurred as she was heading for El Viento Rural School in Barbosa Municipality, Antioquia Departament. She was accompanied by 6 pupils who were left abandoned at Potrerito hamlet in the same municipality.  The comrade was 50 years old. She had been dedicated to teaching for 27 years and was a member of the Antioquia Teachers Association ADIDA - FECODE - CUT. Š On 24th July 2001 teacher RUBEN DARIO OROZCO GRAJALES was assassinated. He was pulled out of school at 12:30 in the afternoon. This took place at Palenque Rural School which is in Buritica Municipality, Antioquia Departament.  The comrade was 48 years old, of which 28 years had been dedicated to the teaching profession. He too was a member of the Antioquia Teachers Association ADIDA - FECODE - CUT. Š On 28th July 2001 specialist Attorney MARÍA HELENA ORTIZ was assassinated by 6 shots to the head, just as she was leaving a clinic in the city of Cúcuta, Santander Departament. She was a member of the National Association of Functionaries and Employees of the Justice Branch - ASONAL - CUT. The comrade was accompanied by her son and her husband NESTOR RODRÍGUEZ, Head of the Special Unit in the Administrative Security Departament -DAS - who were both seriously wounded. Š On 29th July 2001, teacher JAIRO TOVAR DIAZ was disappeared in the outskirts of Galeras Municipality, Sucre Departament, when he was snatched by armed men at the margins of the law. He was a member of the Sucre Teachers Association - ADES - FECODE - CUT. To this date the comrade is still disappeared,  for that reason we make an URGENT CALL for his life to be saved, and that he be returned s quickly as possible safe and sound to his family and union comrades. These terrible events clearly show that actions against trade unionists are increasing from day to day. By July 2000, 67 people had been assassinated that year. So far this year to the end of July this figure has gone up by  more than 15%. There have been 78 assassinations, 35 disappearances and kidnappings, 14 attempted assassinations and a large number of threats that have not been possible to determine because of their grand magnitude. This murderous policy has brought on a profound humanitarian crisis where the number of forced displacements and refugees is already impossible to manage with the required humanitarian attention.  JESÚS ANTONIO GONZALEZ LUNA Director Human Rights Departament 1st August 2001 SPANISH ORIGINAL: ŃANTE LA BARBARIE  LOS HOMBRES Y MUJERES SINDICALISTAS COLOMBIANOS  NO DEJAREMOS QUE SE NOS IMPONGA EL TERROR...... CONTINUAREMOS EN LA LUCHA DE RESISTENCIA POR MEJORES CONDICIONES DE VIDA Y TRABAJO! La Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia "CUT", a través del Departamento de Derechos Humanos, informa los últimos hechos de barbarie que se esta llevando a cabo  contra nuestra Central y sus dirigentes. Š El día 16 de julio de 2001, fue asesinada la enfermera LUCILA RINCÓN, al ser interceptada en el sitio La Parroquia entre la vía Mariquita - Fresno del Departamento del Tolima, este criminal hecho fue llevado a cabo cuando la compaĖera en compaĖía de otros integrantes de la familia quienes también fueron asesinados; estaban buscando otro familiar retenido por los paramilitares quienes efectuaron esta masacre. Esta trabajadora del sector salud era activista de la Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores y Empleados de Hospitales, Clínicas y Entidades Dedicadas a Procurar la Salud de la Comunidad - ANTHOC - CUT. Š El día 22 de julio de 2001, fue asesinada la docente OBDULIA MARTÍNEZ, en el Municipio de Chiriguana del Departamento del Cesar, hechos ocurridos en momentos en que fueron a buscarla a su residencia y allí de dos disparos en la cabeza la ejecutaron; la compaĖera trabajada en el Colegio Nuestra SeĖora de Chiquinquirá y estaba afiliada a la Asociación de Educadores del Cesar - EDUCESAR - FECODE - CUT. Š El día 24 de julio de 2001, fue asesinada la educadora SILVIA ROSA ALVAREZ ZAPATA, hecho ocurrido cuando se dirigía hacia la Escuela Rural El Viento del Municipio de Barbosa, Departamento de Antioquia; estaba acompaĖada de 6 alumnos a quienes abandonaron  en la Vereda Potrerito del mismo municipio.  La compaĖera tenía 50 aĖos de los cuales 27 había dedicado a la docencia y estaba afiliada a la Asociación de Institutores de Antioquia - ADIDA - FECODE - CUT. Š El día 24 de julio de 2001, fue asesinado RUBEN DARIO OROZCO GRAJALES, hecho ocurrido cuando fue sacado a las 12:30 de la tarde de la Escuela Rural Palenque ubicada en el Municipio de Buritica, Departamento de Antioquia.  El compaĖero  tenía 48 aĖos de los cuales había dedicado 28 a la docencia  y estaba afiliado a la  Asociación de Institutores de Antioquia - ADIDA - FECODE - CUT. Š El día  28 de julio de 2001 fue asesinada la Fiscal especializada MARÍA HELENA ORTIZ, de 6 tiros en la cabeza, en momentos en que salía de una clínica de la ciudad de Cúcuta, Departamento de Santander, estaba afiliada a la - Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios y Empleados de la Rama Judicial - ASONAL - CUT La compaĖera estaba acompaĖada de su hijo y esposo NESTOR RODRÍGUEZ, Jefe de la Unidad Especializada ante el Departamento Administrativo de seguridad -DAS - quienes resultaron gravemente heridos. Š El día 29 de julio de 2001, desapareció el docente JAIRO TOVAR DIAZ a las afueras del Municipio de Galeras, Departamento de Sucre, cuando fue retenido por hombres armados al margen de la ley;  estaba afiliado a la Asociación de Educadores de Sucre - ADES - FECODE - CUT. A la fecha, el compaĖero se encuentra desaparecido, por lo cual  hacemos un llamado para actuar  de manera URGENTE, con el propósito de salvar su vida para que sea  devuelto a la mayor prontitud sano y salvo al seno de su familia y de sus compaĖeros. Estos  sucesos tan nefastos  dejan claro que el incremento de las acciones  contra los sindicalistas se incrementa día  a día ya que para julio de 2000 habían asesinado 67 personas y para julio de 2001 esta cifra se incremento más del 15% que se refleja en los 78 asesinatos, 35 desaparecidos y secuestrados, 14 atentados y un  número indeterminado de amenazados que no  ha sido posible determinar por su gran magnitud. Esta criminal política, entrega un cuadro de profunda crisis humanitaria,  donde la cifra  de desplazamientos forzados y refugiados ya es imposible de manejar  en la requerida atención humanitaria. JESÚS ANTONIO GONZALEZ LUNA Director Departamento de Derechos Humanos PROTEST ACTION Send protest e-mails, faxes and letters demanding a) protection for trade unionists under threat and b) the removal of state impunity from those carrying out the assassinations c) real steps to dismantle the far-right paramilitary groups to: Doctor Andres Pastrana Arango President of the Republic, Palacio de Narino, Santafe de Bogota DC E-mail: 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: and Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ E-mail: and whichever other government or institutional bodies you believe appropriate. -- Andy Higginbottom  
Close From: Andy Higginbottom []   To: undisclosed-recipients  Cc:   Subject: Outline 6 month Programme  Sent: 8/7/01 11:57 AM  Importance: Normal  Outline 6 month Programme Rough draft circulated informally, for thinking about now, discussion and agreement at our next meeting. Sat 8 Sept              Colombia Solidarity Campaign Meeting                 (now in doubt, clash CORAS foro, please resolve) Sat 29 Sept             Proposed international action day Sat 6-13 Oct            Delegation to Cali Sat 20 Oct              Report Back from Cali Delegation                         New Bulletin Sat 3 Nov               Colombia Solidarity Campaign Meeting November 2001           Speaking tour - Early December          e.g. education trade unionist plus Mario Sat 8 Dec               Colombia Solidarity Campaign Meeting Sun 9 Dec               Picket Downing Street Mon 10 Dec              International Human Rights Day -                         Vigils Across the Country January 2002            National Meeting attended by                         Colombian Trade unionists                         New Bulletin Spring 2002             Demonstration? -- Andy Higginbottom  
In recent months the company EMCALI where the employees work has begun a recuperation plan which involves the co-administration of the company by the Public Services Superintendency, and the trade union SINTRAEMCALI.  All of the workers named above are part of the plan, and have been working hard to try to root out corruption amongst some of the directors. As a result of their work in detecting and reporting corruption they and their families have been subjected to an onslaught of death threats. On the 11th of July they received a call from an unidentified person that he had just heard in a corridor of the company that this week (11-15th of July) there is going to be an assassination attempt against your lives, and he gave the names of Ruben Enrique Calvo Zuiga, Carlos Alberto Lozada, and Freddy Hernado Salinas Muoz.   Yesterday, August 3, 2001  Ruben Enrique Calvo Zuiga received a Suffragio (a letter of condolence for his death) in his house in San Antonio, Cali.  It stated that This is the first and only warning, you have until the 17th of August to leave EMCALI otherwise you and your family boom. We call on the international community to send messages of protest, and call for the protection of the lives of these workers, and other members of SINTRAEMCALI, whose only crime is to struggle to rebuild the social fabric of society, fight against corruption, and defend public services in the region. Please copy and send the following letter to the President of Colombia (below in Spanish and English), to Doctor Andres Pastrana Arango, President of Colombia, your own government, and any other places you think appropriate to assist in the protection of the legitimate rights of trade unionists in Colombia, who are suffering attacks of a genocidal nature. Department of Human Rights, SINTRAEMCALI Cali Colombia   PROTEST ACTION Doctor Andres Pastrana Arango President of the Republic, Palacio de Narino, Santafe de Bogota DC Dear Sir, We the international community are concerned about the terrible conditions, death threats, and assassinations that the Colombian Trade Union movement is suffering from in Colombia. We call for  a) protection for trade unionists under threat b) the removal of state impunity from those carrying out the assassinations c) real steps to dismantle the far-right paramilitary groups. Doctor Andres Pastrana Arango President of the Republic, Palacio de Narino, Santafe de Bogota DC Nosotros la Comunidad Internacional, estamos muy preocupados por las terribles condiciones y amenazas de muerte y asesinatos de sindicalistas colombianos. Nosotros exigimos: a) La seguridad y proteccin para los sindicalistas amenazamos. b) Solicitamos que los crimenes y amenazas a activistas de dirigentes sindicalistas y activistas no queden en la absoluta impunidad. c)Que exista una poltica de compromiso para acabar con los grupos paramilitares. To: E-mail: Fax: 00571 3362109 / 337 1351 / 2867434 / 286 6842 With copies to: SINTRAEMCALI, Calle 18 No6-54, Cali, Colombia Fax 888 1159,  E. Mail, 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: and Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ E-mail: -- Andy Higginbottom