Sixth FENSUAGRO Activist Arrested in Putumayo, Columbia

Attacks and arrests of trade unions continue un-abatted in Columbia. In the last days two more leading activists of the FENSUAGRO union in Columbia have also been arrested on July 30th and August 7th. Please support the call for their release. For more information and to sign the letter click here.

In other news from Colombia, a trade union leader from the mining and energy workers’ union, SINTRAMIENERGETICA was shot and killed last week. This brings the total number of trade unionists killed in Colombia so far in 2011 to 18.

Additionally, oil workers have been targeted as retaliation for protests against poor working conditions. During strike action on July 14th an USO oil workers’ union activist was arrested on charges of ‘terrorism.’ The industrial action also saw USO President Rodolfo Vecino receive death threats. During oil workers’ mobilisations in Meta, police attacked workers, setting their camp aflame and injuring 16. In Putumayo, oil sector trade unionists in the SINTRAPETROPUTUMAYO union survived assassination attempts and received threats.

Meanwhile, last month a respected Colombian NGO released a report which concludes that the war is far from over, underlining the growing need for a peace process. Meanwhile President Santos issued an order to the armed forces allowing them to destroy civilian buildings from which they perceive attacks. Indigenous groups, trade unions, and human rights groups have rejected the move, saying it will lead to more civilians being killed.

The government has also refused to ratify an additional protocol to the UN Convention on Torture, and has passed a controversial Intelligence Law, which critics say will be used to legalise spying and repression of trade unions and the political opposition.

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