ASLEF joins London protests at Colombian murders

20 March 2007

ASLEF was represented at a commemoration outside the Colombian embassy this morning (20 March) drawing attention to the fact that 84 trade unionists were assassinated in Colombia during 2006.

Campaign group Justice for Colombia said today that this marks a 20% increase on the number assassinated in 2005.

Over 100 senior trade union figures and MPs – including Tony Lloyd, the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party and Dave Anderson – held placards with the names of the assassinated Colombian trade unionists. Keith Norman held a poster commemorating Jose Izquierdo Melendez.

The figures, which are sourced from Colombian unions, show that teachers and agricultural workers were hit particularly hard: 40 of the 84 people killed were teachers and 11 were agricultural workers.

Although most of the culprits have never been identified, figures from the Colombian Commission of Jurists show that the vast majority of political assassinations were committed by the state and right-wing paramilitaries, often acting in collusion.

Few of the perpetrators of these crimes are ever prosecuted as murderers of trade unionists enjoy a huge degree of impunity in Colombia.

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