Assassinated in Aguachica
On 11 April 2001 SAULO GUZM¡N CRUZ was assassinated in the Aguachica
municipality of Cesar Department. GUZM¡N CRUZ was the president of the
Healthworkers Union in Cesar, affiliated to the ConfederaciÛn General de Trabajadores Democr·ticos de Colombia (CGTD).
On 23 April 2001 HUMBERTO CONTRERAS SERENO was assassinated. This crime
took place in Barranquilla, capital of Atl·ntico departament. The comrade was a student in the Law Faculty at Atl·ntico University, he was an outstanding student leader in this region of the country and in the university sector at national level.
Forced Disappearance of Educator
On 19 April 2001 EUMELIA ARISTIZABAL was the victim of forced disappearance. The act was carried out in CÛcorna Municipality, Antioquia Department. The educator is a member of the AsociaciÛn de Institutores de Antioquia ADIDA, a trade union organisation affiliated to the CUT. This criminal act was carried out by an unidentified armed group.
They Kidnapped the Daughter of a Union Leader
At 9.30 am on 18 April 2001, the young woman PAULA ANDREA GOMEZ MORA left her place of residence and headed for the Autonomous University of the West, where she studies the first semester of Social Communication. Paula is the daughter of EDINSON GOMEZ, a worker who is a member of the Cali Municipal Workers Union – SINTRAEMCALI, and who has been threatened on several occassions with leaflets and letters. Thanks to the urgent action and early alert by the Committee for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Union Leaders in the Ministry of the Interior, as well as the humanitarian action by Red Cross International and the Office Managing Peace of the Valle de Cauca Governor, the young student was released on 20 April.
GERZAIN HERN¡NDEZ GIRALDO has been kidnapped since 24 February 2001. He
was taken in the north of Cauca Department by an armed group who, according to information received by his family, freed him, even to this date he has not appeared. Gerzain is a worker at Cauca’s electricity headquarters and is a member of the Cali section of the electricity industry union SINTRAELECOL.
Our union federation, as well as its Human Rights Department, we the workers make a call concerning this dramatic situation that we are suffering. We demand of the Government of Andres Pastrana, the Ministers, the Senators, and the Congress representatives, the Judicial Branch, the High Courts, the generals in the Armed Forces, those who assume the responsibility and the political authority at the state’s highest levels that they no longer continue this barabarism against us who are members of the civilian population.
We ask that demands are made of the Colombian government pressing it to respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. In this respect we call out to the world through diplomats, Human Rights NGOs, International Trade Union centres, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations, the European Parliament and organised groups of political refugee communities.
The Colombian state must go further than the speeches and rhetoric that it puts out for the consumption of the international community. It must stop presenting itself as a victim of this humanitarian crisis, because its constitutional obligation and international conventions oblige it to guarantee the free activity of Human Rights Defenders and Trade Union Leaders, even in times of war.