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Colombia: Fear for safety

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 23/029/1998

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of members of SINTRAMUNICIPIO-CARTAGO, Union of Municipal Workers of the municipality of Cartago and other municipal workers involved in industrial disputes for better working conditions and wages who have received death threats in recent weeks.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/29/98
UA 150/98 Fear for Safety 13 May 1998
COLOMBIAMembers of SINTRAMUNICIPIO-CARTAGO trade union and other municipal
workers
Members of SINTRAMUNICIPIO-CARTAGO, Union of Municipal Workers of the
municipality of Cartago, department of Valle del Cauca, and other municipal
workers involved in industrial disputes for better working conditions and wages
have received death threats in recent weeks and could be in danger.
One death threat reads: "... no merecen nuestra consideración perros comunistas
mejor huir que morir no hay tiempo aplicaremos justicia para ejemplo", "...
you do not deserve our consideration communist dogs - better flee than die
- there is no time left for you - we will impose justice as an example". It
was signed by a paramilitary group calling itself COOPROSEG, an apparent acronym
the meaning of which is unknown.
Trade unionists who reported the threats to the police were reportedly told
by the Cartago police commander that "... cualquier cosa que suceda en la ciudad,
si se roban una bicicleta, si hay un incendio, cualquier delito que se cometa,
será responsabilidad de ustedes", "... anything that happens in the town, if
a bicycle is stolen, if there is a fire, any crime which is committed, will
be your responsibility".
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In recent years widespread and systematic human rights violations have occurred
in Colombia, including extrajudicial executions, "disappearance", torture and
arbitrary arrest.
President Ernesto Samper Pizano has repeatedly pledged his government's
commitment to protect human rights and to tackle impunity. However, members
of the Colombian armed and security forces continue to commit serious abuses
with virtual impunity.
Trade unionists, popular leaders, civic activists and human rights workers
are among those whose human rights are frequently violated by the security
forces and their paramilitary allies. Perpetrators are very rarely brought
to justice; most members of the armed forces responsible for gross human rights
violations remain in active service.
Guerrilla organizations have also been responsible for serious human rights
abuses, including deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians and the holding
of hostages.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of SINTRAMUNICIPIO-CARTAGO trade unionists
and other municipal workers;
- urging that all measures deemed appropriate by those under threat be undertaken
to guarantee their safety;
- urging that full and impartial investigations be undertaken into the death
threats, that the results be made public and that those responsible be brought
to justice.
APPEALS TO:
President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
carrera 8 No. 7-26
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper, Bogotá, Colombia
Telex: 44281 PALP CO
Fax: + 57 1 284 2186/289 3377/286 7434
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente / Dear President Samper
Attorney General
Dr.Alfonso Gómez Méndez
Fiscal General de la Nación
Fiscalia General de la Nación
Diagonal 22B 5201,Apartado Aéreo 29855
Santafé de Bogotá,Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 571 570 2000 (when ansaphone picks up dial 2017 for fax)
Salutation: Estimado Dr./ Dear Dr.
Governor of the Department of Valle del Cauca
Señor Gustavo Alvárez Gardeazábal
Gobernador del Departamento de Valle del Cauca
Gobernación de Valle del Cauca
Carrera 6ª, Calles 9ª y 10ª
Cali, Valle del Cauca
Colombia
Telegrams: Gobernador Alvárez, Valle del Cauca, Cali, Colombia
Fax: + 572 889 8818
Salutation: Estimado Señor Alvárez
COPIES TO:
Lawyers' Association:
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados
AA 44456
Santafé de Bogotá
Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 24 June 1998.

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