Attempted assassination of trade unionist in Cesar department

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 13 February 2017

In recent days, prominent trade unionists and civil society leaders have been attacked and threatened in Cesar and Cauca departments, raising huge concerns about the increase in human rights violations in the region.

Alfredo Barón Sánchez, a member of the People's Congress and the trade union SINALTRAINAL (the National Union of Food Industry Workers) in Valledupar, was victim of an attack on 9 February. A man shot him while Barón was returning home. Fortunately he survived the attack.

That morning he had participated at the second session of the Human Rights and Territories Committee in the Department of Cesar. The meeting was also attended by members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), the Ombudsman's Office and different human rights defenders organisations. According to SINALTRAINAL, on the two occasions in which the Committee has met participants have been threatened. Another participant received a threatening telephone call after the first session on 13 January 2017.

On Sunday 12 February, unknown armed men on motorcycles fired bullets into Carlos Jair Trujillo's house in Agustín Codazzi, Cesar. He was with his daughter and wife who was injured in one hand.

In addition, pamphlets signed by the paramilitary organisation the Black Eagles have been distributed in Cauca department. Daniel Ulcue, leader of the Peasant and Environmental Association of Playa Rica and National Agricultural Coordinator, has received threats.

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