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Colombia: Further information on Fear for Safety/Extrajudicial Executions - Leaders of SINTRAEMCALI and other trade unions in Valle del Cauca department

, Index number: AMR 23/054/2001

Two members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de las Empresas Municipales de Cali (SINTRAEMCALI), Cali Trade Union of Municipal Service Workers, have been killed in Cali, Valle del Cauca department. Army-backed paramilitaries are increasingly targeting other trade unionists in the area, who have been declared military targets. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of all trade unionists in the area, including members of SINTRAEMCALI.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/054/2001
31 May 2001
Further information on UA 302/00 (AMR 23/79/00, 28 September 2000)- Fear for
Safety/Extrajudicial Executions
COLOMBIA Leaders of SINTRAEMCALI and other trade unions in Valle del
Cauca department
New names: Martín AGUDELO, President of SINALTRAINAL
Carlos ARBEY GONZÁLEZ, a leader with SINTRAUNICOL
Other trade unionists
Killed: Henry Jiménez RODRÍGUEZ, trade unionist
Carlos Eliécer PRADO, trade unionist
Two members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de las Empresas Municipales de
Cali (SINTRAEMCALI), Cali Trade Union of Municipal Service Workers, have been
killed in Cali, Valle del Cauca department. Army-backed paramilitaries are
increasingly targeting other trade unionists in the area, who have been declared
military targets. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety
of all trade unionists in the area, including members of SINTRAEMCALI.
On the morning of 25 May, gunmen on a motorcycle reportedly shot dead Henry
Jiménez Rodríguez, who was on his way to work in Cali. He died instantly. On
21 May, unidentified gunmen in a car killed Carlos Eliécer Prado in the La
Base district of Cali. Both men were members of SINTRAEMCALI, whose members
have faced a series of death threats and human rights violations as a result
of the union’s long campaign against the privatisation of Cali’s electricity,
water, sewage and telecommunications utilities (See original for more details).
On 24 May, unidentified gunmen reportedly tried to kill Martín Agudelo, the
president of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de
Alimentos Seccional Bugalagrande (SINALTRAINAL), National Union of Food
Industry Workers - Bugalagrande Branch. Martín Agudelo has since fled the area
for fear of safety. The attack came after the security forces reportedly labelled
the leaders of SINALTRAINAL and other unions in the area “guerrillas” in an
internal security force intelligence report. In the past, people who have been
labelled guerillas have frequently suffered serious human rights violations
at the hands of army-backed paramilitaries.
At a meeting in northern Valle del Cauca in March, paramilitaries reportedly
declared Carlos Arbey González, one of the leaders of the Sindicato de
Trabajadores y Empleados Universitarios de Colombia (SINTRAUNICOL), Colombian
University Workers and Employees Union, a military target. Unidentified
individuals have apparently been keeping him and his family under constant
surveillance since early 2001. Another SINTRAUNICOL leader, Gilberto Agudelo,
“disappeared” after he was reportedly abducted by paramilitaries in June 2000
(See UA 158/00, AMR 23/46/00, 13 June 2000). The army-backed paramilitary group
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, (AUC), United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia
had declared the members of SINTRAUNICOL’s executive board a military target
in September 1999.
There is concern that although Carlos Arbey is at serious risk, the Ministry
of Interior protection program has been slow to ensure that measures adopted
for his safety are speedily executed. The Colombian Government will apparently
provide two bodyguards for Carlos Arbey for a six-month period beginning on
1 June, but financial restrictions mean that medium to long-term measures cannot
be adopted. The inadequate protection measures taken by the Ministry of the
Interior have meant that the lives of trade unionists such as Carlos Arbey
González have been unduly endangered.
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FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of trade union leaders and activists in
Valle del Cauca, including SINTRAEMCALI members, Martín Agudelo and Carlos
Arbey González;
- asking the authorities what action they will take to guarantee the safety
of those at risk, and calling for the Ministry of Interior’s protection program
for trade unionists to be adequately resourced;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into the killings of Henry
Jiménez Rodríguez and Carlos Eliécer Prado, and the attempted killing of Martín
Agudelo, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security
forces and paramilitary groups operating in Valle del Cauca Department, and
asking that the results of the investigation are made public and those found
responsible for supporting and participating in such groups are brought to
justice;
- urging the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary
groups, in line with stated government commitments and recommendations made
by the UN and other intergovernmental organizations.
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana Arango
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Carrera 8 No.7-26
Santafé de Bogotá
COLOMBIA
Fax: + 57 1 336 2109 / 337 1351 / 286 7434 / 286 6842 / 284 2186
Salutation: Dear President / Excmo. Sr. Presidente
Minister of Interior
Sr. Armando Estrada Villa
Ministro del Interior, Ministerio del Interior, Palacio Echeverry
Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o., Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegram: Ministro Interior, Bogota, Colombia
Fax: + 57 1 341 9583 / 334 3960
Salutation: Dear Sir / Sr. Ministro
Governor of the Department of Valle del Cauca
Gobernador del Departamento de Valle del Cauca
Sr. Germán Villegas Villegas
Gobernación de Valle del Cauca
Palacio de San Francisco
A.A. 8759
Carrera 6ª, Calles 9ª y 10ª
Santiago de Cali, Valle del Cauca, COLOMBIA
Telegram: Gobernador Valle del Cauca, Cali, Colombia
Fax: + 57 2 885 8813
Salutation: Dear Governor/Estimado sr. Gobernador
COPIES TO:
National Human Rights Ombudsman
Defensor del Pueblo
Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes Muñoz
Defensoría del Pueblo
Calle 55, No. 10-32/46
Santafé de Bogotá, COLOMBIA
and to diplomatic representatives of<Colombia accredited to your country.
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PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 12 July 2001.

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