Prison Officers’ Union Leader Assassinated

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 31 January 2008

Unidentified assassins have murdered a regional leader of the prison officers' trade union in Colombia.The killing, on January 28th, occurred as 32-year-old Yebrain Suarez, arrived home from work in the town of Itagui in Antioquia department. The assassins were waiting for him in the doorway of his house.The International read more

Political Prisoners Reach 23rd Day of Hunger Strike

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Political prisoners in the 'Palo Gordo' jail in central Colombia today reached the 23rd day of a hunger strike called in protest at their treatment by the prison authorities. According to human rights organisations, there are serious fears for the health of the seven prisoners involved.The hunger strike began read more

Peace Community Still Under Attack

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The peace community of San Jose de Apartado, which for 11 years has declared itself 'neutral' in the Colombian conflict and has called for no armed actors of any kind to enter their lands, have suffered yet another series of human rights abuses. The Community claims that the Colombian read more

School of Americas Graduates Implicated in Bogotá Bombings

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A director of Colombian military intelligence and another officer implicated in a series of false attacks and a bombing that killed a civilian and injured 19 soldiers in Bogotá in 2006, attended the US Army School of the Americas, an examination of records shows. Colonel Horacio Arbelaez, former director of read more

Agricultural Union General Secretary Killed by Colombian Army

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 29 January 2008

55-year-old Israel Gonzalez, the General Secretary of the Colombian agricultural trade union ASTRACATOL and an active member of the Polo Democratico opposition political party, has been shot dead by soldiers of the 'Caicedo' Battalion of the Colombian Army. The killing, which took place at 7.15am on January 24th as read more

Public Meeting with Visiting Trade Unionist

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 28 January 2008

Emigdio Triana, a trade unionist in the banking sector who recently led a successful strike against HSBC in Colombia, is the guest speaker at a February 5th public meeting in London organised by Justice for Colombia and Unite, the British trade union representing bank workers.The meeting, at 5pm at the read more

Research Institute Reports Increase in Attacks on Colombian Trade Unionists During 2007

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 28 January 2008

A European Union-funded trade union research institution in Colombia has found that 2007 saw an increase in human rights abuses against Colombian trade unionists compared to 2006. The National Trade Union School (Escuela Nacional Sindical, ENS) documented that, on average, more than one human rights abuses was perpetrated each read more

Freed Hostage Claims Colombian Government Tried to Sabotage Release

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 27 January 2008

One of the two high profile hostages freed by FARC guerrillas earlier this month has claimed that delays in their release were caused by the Colombian Government bombing the area in which the hostages were to be handed over to a humanitarian mission arranged by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.International news read more

Colombian Army Officer Admits Killing of Civilians is “Systematic”

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 27 January 2008

A Colombian Army Sergeant has blown the whistle on a practice that he says is widespread in the armed forces – that of killing civilians and then dressing their bodies in guerrilla uniforms and presenting their corpses as if they were guerrillas killed in combat.Sergeant Alexander Rodriguez, who was interviewed read more

US Congressman Protests Removal of Judges Investigating Trade Union Killings

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 26 January 2008

A US Congressman has written to President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia asking why all three judges assigned to a panel tasked with handling investigations into thousands of assassinations of trade unionists have been suspended. Congressman George Miller, also protests at the unexplained removal or one of the three judges read more

Colombian Army Mobile Brigade Murders Two Peasant Leaders

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 25 January 2008

The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission in Colombia has reported that the Colombian Army has executed two peasant leaders in the southern region of Putumayo. The Commission also reports that Putumayo is heavily militarised and that three other executions of civilians have taken place.The first killings, which were carried read more

Political Prisoners Send Message of Thanks

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 24 January 2008

Female trade unionists, human rights defenders, student and community leaders, being held in the Buen Pastor Women's Prison in Bogotá have sent a message to Justice for Colombia and the British trade union Unite, thanking us for continuing to support them via our 'Political Prisoners project.The women are held in read more

2,000 Indigenous People under Siege

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 24 January 2008

Five of Colombia's main indigenous groups along with the Catholic Church in the Colombian region of Choco where they are based, have put out an urgent appeal to the international community asking for support in the face of a pending military offensive in the region. According to their appeal read more

JFC Project Partner Dies

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Justice for Colombia wishes to express its sorrow at the death of Jimena Buenahora. Ms Buenahora died on Tuesday, January 22nd 2008 from illness. At the time of her death she was working for the 'Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights' (CPDH), the oldest human rights read more

US Unions Expose Colombian Government Misinformation

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 23 January 2008

In a damning report entitled "Workers' Rights, Violence and Impunity in Colombia", the AFL-CIO trade union federation in the United States claims that the Colombian Government is providing "highly inconsistent" information on the situation faced by trade unionists. The report says that despite claims to the contrary made by the read more

Exiled Colombian Youth Leader Assassinated in Venezuela

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Suspected Colombian military intelligence agents have assassinated an exiled leader of the Young Communist Party of Colombia. Alirio Quinones was living in exile in Venezuela after having suffered years of persecution at the hands of the Colombian Army and intelligence services.Mr Quinones, who was a resident in the Venezuelan read more

Opposition Leaders Express Support for Supreme Court

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Leaders of the 'Polo Democratico' opposition party in Colombia have written to the President of the Colombian Supreme Court expressing their support for him in the face of serious accusations made against him by Colombian president Alvaro Uribe.President Uribe, who was recently criticised by Human Rights Watch for his attacks read more

Two Peasant Leaders Taken Away by Army

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 21 January 2008

Soldiers have detained and taken away two leaders of the Peasant Farmer Association of the River Cimitarra Valley (ACVC) in central Colombia. The two men, Ramiro Ortega and Miguel Huepa, were seized by troops of the Calibio Battalion after a community meeting in the village of Purto Nuevo Ite read more

Victims to President Uribe: Stop Denying Ongoing Paramilitary Crimes

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 20 January 2008

In a public letter to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe published in the newspaper 'El Espectador', the leader of the National Movement of Victims, Ivan Cepeda, has called on the Colombian regime to recognise the ongoing violations of human rights being carried out by the Colombian Army and Army-linked paramilitary death read more

Red Cross Clarifies Position on Colombian Conflict

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 19 January 2008

Despite assertions by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that there is no conflict in Colombia, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has made clear that they believe that there is indeed a war raging and that the Geneva Convention needs to be applied by both sides – something that read more

Open Letter to the Foreign Secretary

Justice For Colombia News | on: Friday, 18 January 2008

Justice for Colombia has today sent an open letter to the British Foreign Secretary requesting that he investigate 37 recent assassinations by Colombian Army units that may have received British military training. Among the victims are trade unionists, community leaders and opposition politicians. A copy of the letter read more

Fumigation Poisons Water and Food in Rural Communities

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 18 January 2008

Colombian Government aerial fumigation planes have destroyed food crops and water supplies in two rural villages in south west Colombia. Farmers working the land when the planes flew over were also covered in the poisonous Glyphosate chemicals used in the fumigation missions that are allegedly aimed at eradicating coca read more

British-Trained High Mountain Battalion Uses Civilians as Human Shields

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 17 January 2008

Human rights groups in the region of Cauca in southern Colombia have reported that troops of the Colombian Army's High Mountain Battalion have used civilians as human shields during fighting in the area between the Army and FARC guerrillas. The High Mountain Battalions have received British military training in read more

Increase in Violence Against Women

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 15 January 2008

A new report into the human rights situation faced by Colombian women highlights the ongoing violence against women and children as a result of the Colombian conflict. Published by the internationally-respected 'Jose Alvera Restrepo' lawyers collective, the report includes chapters by a wide range of groups including the Colombian read more

Soldiers Assassinate Disabled Man

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 15 January 2008

On January 10th soldiers of the 'Ayacucho' Battalion of the Colombian Army murdered Cristian Largo Zapata. Mr Zapata was a 22-year-old disabled indigenous man.The killing, by soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Contreras, took place in the indigenous community of 'La Esperanza' in Riosucio municipality of Caldas department. read more

Mass Detention in Arauca

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 15 January 2008

11 social and community leaders, including members of the local political opposition and trade unionists, have been detained by the Colombian security forces and accused of 'rebellion'. A regional human rights organization, the 'Fundacion Joel Sierra', has described the detentions as a "witch hunt".The first round-ups occurred on January read more

Bank Workers’ Leader to Visit UK

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 14 January 2008

The British trade union Unite, working with Justice for Colombia, will shortly be hosting Colombian trade union leader Emigdio Triana in the UK for a two-week visit. Mr Triana is the leader of the bank workers' trade union, UNEB, in the Colombian capital Bogotá.Unite and UNEB first made contact read more

Two Paramilitary Massacres Leave 10 Dead

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 14 January 2008

Community leaders have been targeted by paramilitary death squads in two regions of Colombia in recent days leaving ten people dead. The ongoing killings by the paramilitaries contradict claims by the Colombian Government that the death squads are no longer operating.The most recent attack took place during a party read more

Hostages' Release, Seen from the Other Side

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 13 January 2008

Journalist Constanza Vieira of the Inter Press Service News Agency, has just published an interesting article concerning the recent release of prisoners by the FARC guerrilla group and the possibility for a humanitarian exchange taking place in Colombia. We re-produce it here:BOGOTA, Jan 11 (IPS) ~ While read more

FARC Release Two Hostages

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 12 January 2008

Despite efforts by the Colombian regime to prevent such a release from taking place, two politicians held hostage by the FARC guerrilla group have been unconditionally freed by the rebels in an effort to galvanize support for a humanitarian exchange of prisoners between the Colombian Government and the guerrillas. read more

Leader of Coffee Growers’ Association Disappeared

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 11 January 2008

Soldiers have forcibly taken away the President of the 'Association of Organic Coffee Growers of Colombia' along with his five children. Their whereabouts are currently unknown although shots were heard from the direction the soldiers went in after their detention.At 9am on January 10th troops of the 3rd 'Batalla read more

Ongoing Assault against Indigenous People in Cauca department

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 8 January 2008

In a series of attacks perpetrated since mid-November the Colombian security forces have wounded and detained numerous indigenous people in the southern Colombian department of Cauca. The attacks follow on from public pronouncements by senior politicians and military commanders that the indigenous people in the region are supporters of read more

Two Parliamentary Motions on Colombia

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 7 January 2008

Katy Clark, a Labour MP who visited Colombia with JFC in August 2007, has tabled motions in Parliament relating to the plight of political prisoners in Colombia – many of whom she met with during her visit.The first motion, Early Day Motion 101, condemns the October arrest of trade union read more

ELN Guerrillas Assassinate Community Leader

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 7 January 2008

On January 6th members of the ELN guerrilla group in Colombia shot and killed community leader Alexander Castellanos Arenas in the department of Tolima.The killings, which occurred at approximately 1.15pm, occurred in the village of Primavera in the municipality of Villahermosa. 22-year-old Mr Castellanos had only recently been elected read more

Further Abuses in Bolivar Region

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 6 January 2008

At 5am on December 28th soldiers of the 'Calibio' Battalion of the 14th Brigade of the Colombian Army went to the home of 42-year-old peasant farmer Parmenio Manuel Hernández Anaya and took him away. On January 3rd his body was located in a nearby morgue dressed in military fatigues read more

Human Rights Lawyer Disappeared

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 5 January 2008

On December 31st Victor Hugo Gallego, a lawyer working for the human rights group CORPADES, in the city of Medellin, was forcibly disappeared. He has not been seen since.Mr Gallego regularly denounced human rights violations by paramilitary death squads in Medellin and it is believed that the paramilitaries were read more

Colombian Army Battalion Executes Five Civilians

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 3 January 2008

A killing spree by the 'Codazzi' Battalion of the Colombian Army's 3rd Brigade has left five people dead in two villages in southern Colombia. The Battalion, along with other units including a British-trained High Mountain Battalion, have also been terrorising indigenous and peasant farmer communities in the same region.The read more

Chavez’s Colombian Hostage Rescue Mission Halted

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A mission led by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to free three hostages held in Colombia by the country's left-wing FARC guerrillas was suspended yesterday. According to Mr Chavez, the FARC said the planned release was not possible because of the Colombian government's military operations. Mr Chavez, who had gathered an read more