“The political will and determination of social organisations in Colombia remain constant in the face of persistent attacks by paramilitaries and repression by the authorities.
Their courage to continue protesting against human rights violations, privatisation and corruption is humbling bearing in mind that their lives and those of their families are at risk of persecution and assassination. Even their bodyguards are keenly aware of the onerous burden they bear to protect not just the bodies of their trade union leaders, but more importantly a history and heritage of social protest and peaceful insurrection against the repression of the state.
May this be a lesson to guard against apathy for those of us who are able to raise awareness, to lobby, to campaign and to demonstrate without going in fear of our lives. Our Colombian comrades have conferred upon us the task of fearlessly fighting their cause through every peaceful means at our disposition.
They want us to send a clear signal to both the authorities and the paramilitaries in Colombia that we will never forget, that we are watching closely and that trade unionists and social organisations in Colombia are not alone. Let us never forget: prohibido olvidar".
Frances Meyler, barrister
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers