Urgent Action: Colombian Union Leaders Receive Death Threats
This week we received disturbing news from our partner NOMADESC in Valle de Cauca, Colombia informing us of new, very explicit death threats against labour leaders in the region. Among those threatened is teacher activist Julian Lozano, with whom CoDev has worked on various education projects in the past few years. Julian was recently elected General Secretary of the Valle de Cauca section of the Colombian Labour Central (CUT).
We are calling on Canadian partners to contact Colombian authorities to ensure the safety of the six union activists who have been threatened. Below you will find the urgent action letter to Colombian President Manuel Santos, that includes the contact information for pertinent authorities in the country. Please feel free to modify the letter and use it as a draft for your own message.
CoDev staff and board.
Colombian Union Leaders Receive Death Threats
Urge Colombian authorities to take action
CoDevelopment Canada’s Colombian partner NOMADESC has informed us of multiple death threats against several union leaders in the city of Cali, Valle de Cauca.
On December 10th 2015, a text message was sent to Wilson Sáenz, President of the Colombian Labour Central-Valle (CUT-Valle) and to Jose Milciades Sánchez, Treasurer of the National Union of University Workers and Employees of Colombia – Cali (SINTRAUNICOL-Cali). The text accuses Mr. Sáenz, Mr. Milciades Sánchez, Yimi Nuñez, Julian Lozano, Aldemar Buitrago and Ivan Velez of attempting to destabilize the peace process, and calls for their deaths.
On December 17th 2015, an envelope arrived at the CUT-Valle main office containing a pamphlet with two long-range bullets attached. The pamphlet included images of gravestones with the names of Wilson Sáenz, Yimi Nuñez and Juan Lozano, Jose Sanchez, Aldemar Buitrago and Ivan Velez, and the caption “Rest in Peace – December 29 2015” beneath each photo. The pamphlet accuses them of being mouthpieces of the guerrilla movement and announces that they will die December 29, 2015.
The union leaders and the organizations they represent have been organizing and participating in numerous debates about Colombia’s peace process. They have sent proposals to the government of Colombia seeking to have the voices of the workers their organizations represent taken into account in the peace negotiation process and development of peace accords.
CoDevelopment Canada asks you to add your voice to those asking the Colombian government to protect these union leaders by signing and sending the below letter.