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25 February 2002


UA 59/02 Fear for Safety


COLOMBIA Members of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de

la Industria de Alimentos, (SINALTRAINAL), National Union of Food

Industry Workers



Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of

members of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria

de Alimentos, (SINALTRAINAL), National Union of Food Industry

Workers, after shots were fired at its headquarters in Cali, Valle del

Cauca Department on 14 February.


An unidentified gunman reportedly shot at the third floor of the

SINALTRAINAL headquarters from outside the building. Four

SINALTRAINAL members on the third floor, had to take cover but

were not injured as a result of the shooting. No arrests have been

made, despite the fact that the police were reportedly immediately

notified and a patrol car was sent to search for the gunman and

another unidentified man seen with him.


The attempt at the SINALTRAINAL headquarters comes at a time

when the trade union is reportedly preparing a law suit in the United

States regarding alleged human rights violations by paramilitaries

against SINALTRAINAL trade unionists working in bottling plants

contracted by the Coca-Cola Company. The attack also follows

threats against and killings of other trade unionists, trade union

activists and their families by army-backed paramilitaries in Cali (UA

53/02 issued 18 February 2002).



The security and armed forces and their paramilitary allies have often

accused trade unionists, human rights workers, members of legal

opposition groups and popular activists of being guerrilla

sympathizers or auxiliaries. The people they have accused have

frequently been harassed, tortured and killed, often by paramilitaries.

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

recorded that in 2001 alone, over 160 trade unionists were murdered,

and that harassment and violence is widespread. According to

reports from the Colombian Trade Union Confederation (CUT), so far

this year at least 20 trade unionists have been killed.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly

as possible:

- expressing concern for the safety of SINALTRAINAL members in

Cali, Valle del Cauca Department;

- calling for a full and impartial investigation into the shooting at the

union's headquarters in Cali, with the results made public and those

responsible brought to justice;

- 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 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




Minister of the Interior:

Dr. Armando Estrada Villa

Ministro del Interior

Ministerio del Interior

Palacio Echeverry

Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o.

Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

Telegram: Ministro Interior, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 562 5298 (if someone answers say 'me da

tono de fax por favor')

Salutation: Dear Minister Estrada Villa / Sr. Ministro Estrada Villa


National Advocate for the people:

Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes Munoz,

Defensor del Pueblo

Defensoria del Pueblo,

Calle 55, No. 10-32/46 office 301

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: National Advocate, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 691 5455 (if someone answers say 'me da

tono de fax por favor')

Salutation: Dear Mr. Cifuentes Munoz / Estimado Sr. Cifuentes



President of Colombia:

Senor Presidente Andres Pastrana

Presidente de la Republica

Palacio de Narino

Carrera 8 No. 7-26

Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogota, Colombia

Telegram: Presidente de la Republica, Bogota, Colombia

Telex: 396 44281 PALP CO

Fax: 011 57 1 566 2071 / 562 8930

Salutation: Dear President Pastrana / Excelentisimo Sr.

Presidente Pastrana



Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno

Embassy of Colombia

2118 Leroy Pl. NW

Washington DC 20008

Fax: 1 202 232 8643


Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office

between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if

sending appeals after April 8, 2002.


Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement

that promotes and defends human rights.


Please do not repost this appeal to any part of the Internet

without prior permission from Amnesty International. Thank you for

your help with this appeal.


Urgent Action Network

Amnesty International USA

PO Box 1270

Nederland CO 80466-1270

Email: uan@aiusa.org


Phone: 303 258 1170

Fax: 303 258 7881