Government Cuts Fuel to Protection Units - Lives at Risk

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 16 August 2012

The CUT has reported that the National Protection Unit, the state office charged with protecting the lives of trade unionists and other human rights defenders deemed at risk of assassination, has cut their fuel allocation by 50%, putting their lives in danger since they must continue their work regardless.

The government has provided limited protection to trade unionists and others deemed in danger of assassination since 1997, as a result of a long campaign by trade unions to stem the onslaught against them. Since 1986 2896 trade unionists have been killed, and the CUT states that this year 12 leaders and trade union members have been killed.

In its statement the CUT said "Today we must denounce the gradual and piecemeal dismantling of the responsiblity [of the state] to protect the right to life and physical integrity of trade unionists."

On July 18th the Ministry of Interior instructed the National Protection Unit to cut its fuel costs by 50%. The measure has left some people without protection, and others unable to make full use of their protection vehicles.

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