Thursday, 14 August 2008

Colombia Sign-on Statement & Request for Action

Request for Action

Dear Friend,

We write to you with a request for urgent action in solidarity with Ms Liliana Obando representative of the Agricultural Workers Union Federation (FENSUAGRO) who on Friday 8th August 2008 was arrested by Colombian government forces.

Ms Obando has been detained on charges of "rebellion" against the state a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government for long periods without trial. 'Rebellion' also allows the regime to smear those accused of it as being 'terrorists' and helps to delegitimise their work.

The attached statement provides further information on this new act of persecution and intimidation of trade union and human rights activists.

Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC) seeks your urgent solidarity action and asks you to write to the Colombian authorities to protest against this act of persecution; to demand her immediate release from custody, to demand the dropping of all the alleged charges against her and for the government of Colombia to guarantee her safety and well being.

We also ask you to send letters of support to the Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, ( at: and cc your messages to:

In solidarity,


For more information visit our website:

The sign-on statement (reproduced below) can be read and filled out here:


Statement on the escalation of intimidation of campaigners for social justice in Colombia

Peace and Justice for Colombia – a network of people in Australia concerned at the human rights situation in that strife-torn Latin American country – condemns the decision announced in recent days by the government of President Alvaro Uribe to launch legal proceedings against a number of members of parliament and NGOs, journalists and academics.

Colombia’s attorney-general has announced that investigations of the named individuals’ alleged “links” to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will commence. This underscores the consistent official message that activity in support of social justice and for an end to the armed and social conflict in the country will not be tolerated.

It is motivated by a desire to distract worldwide attention away from embarrassing links between government representatives and ruthless paramilitary groups. It also singles out the personalities named for assassination attempts by the country’s notorious paramilitary groups. Their deadly record of murdered trade unionists and opposition political figures and others is well known.

It is claimed that the probe into the activities of the individuals arises out of communications contained on computers seized by Colombian troops when they entered Ecuadorean territory earlier this year and killed senior FARC leader Raul Reyes along with 25 others. The group was in Ecuador to prepare talks for the humanitarian exchange of prisoners taken on both sides of the decades-long armed conflict in Colombia.

There is much concern internationally – including on the part of Interpol – that proper procedures have not been followed in dealing with this “evidence” and that data could have been added by Colombian authorities. It is disturbing to note that most of the targeted figures have had a role in trying to secure a humanitarian exchange of prisoners and confirms suspicions held in many quarters that the Colombian government is trying to prevent such exchanges.

In Colombia human rights organizations, trade unions and other social organizations have often been labelled as guerrilla collaborators or supporters by government officials, by the security forces and paramilitaries. Such accusations have frequently been followed by threats, attacks and assassination attempts against those trade union and human rights activists.

Another deeply disturbing feature of the announcement is that several foreign nationals have been named, including members of the Ecuadorean and Venezuelan parliaments, journalists and academics.

The government of Colombia is acting to isolate the opposition in the country from the growing international movement in solidarity with the long-suffering people of Colombia. This attempt at intimidation will not succeed and only increases the indignation felt by the world community at the tragic condition of human rights in Colombia.

Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC) strongly condemns this latest act of political persecution against prominent political figures well known for their humanitarian work and who have simply been exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

We call urgently on the international community, the people of Australia, in particular trade unionists and peace-loving people, to endorse this statement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We follow your blog and we find it very interesting. We see a great potential in your content, We think it's time you had your own website. Make your own statement by having your website.This independent website will boost your identity and will establish your web presence.

We are a web 2.0 start up who have set out to democratize web space and provide web identity to all on the internet.We realize that acquiring a domain name ,maintaining a website,hosting it on a server, handling technical issues are all a process that costs time and money.

We believe with our idea we can provide all these to you for free, our services include:

1. Provide free website (e.g.,if available).
2. A place to host your website.
3. Easy to use web development tools.
4. Your own email id.
5. Technical support.

We are currently in private beta. Try us out!!!
For more information look us up at

Team HyperWebEnable