As Iván Duque assumes the presidency in Colombia, trade union leaders are raising the alarm about intensifying violence against labour activists. The following statement can be attributed to Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas:
“This year has been one of the deadliest for Colombian social activists since negotiations of the Peace Accord began, there have been over 123 murders so far in 2018. The rise in violence is a national crisis, and President Duque’s top priority must be ending terror campaigns against labour leaders, human rights advocates, environmentalists, and their families.
“We are concerned that paramilitaries are emboldened by the new government and that the country is in danger of falling back to the extermination campaigns of the past. The peace process showed the world the promise of a new Colombia, and President Duque must do everything in his power to bring assassins to justice and prevent additional killings. Returning to the violence of the Uribe government puts the nation’s peace, democracy, and economy at risk.”
UNI Americas represents service workers throughout North and South America, and is part of UNI Global Union, a global union federation with 20 million members in more than 150 countries.
UNI members have been threatened in this recent wave of violence. One example is Eric Amador, Treasurer of Colombian health care union SINTRASALUDCOL. In the days following Duque’s election, he received the death threat from a paramilitary group reading, “apparently you do not want to continue living” and that his family “had been targeted as a military objective”.
The group demanded that Amador resign from his position with the union or else pay with his life and the life of his family.
You can read more about Erics’ story here: https://uniglobalunion.org/news/uni-condemns-new-death-threats-against-eric-amador-and-his-family
For more information or arrange an interview with UNI Americas Regional Secretary, Marcio Monzane, please contact: Carolina González at Carolina.firstname.lastname@example.org or Matthew Painter email@example.com