28 August 2002

UA 268/02 Fear for Safety



Diego Osorio, (m) President of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores,

CUT, Colombian Trade Union Confederation Risaralda section;

Carlos Valencia (m), board treasurer, CUT Risaralda section;

Aide Trujillo (f), Presidente of the Sindicato de Educadores de

Risaralda, SER, Risaralda Teachers Union;

Rodrigo Lopez (m), Vice-President, SER;

Vicente Villada (m), board treasurer, SER;

Gerardo Santibanez (m), Secretary General,Sindicato de

Trabajadores de Las Empresas Publicas, SINTRAEMSDES, Public

Sector Trade Union;

Guillermo Cardona (m), President, Comite Permanente por la

Defensa de los Derechos Humanos Seccional Risaralda, CPDH,

Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Risaralda


Domingo Taborda (m), Vice-President, CPDH Risaralda Section;

Adriana Gonzalez (f), Secretary General, CPDH Risaralda Section;

Maria Teresa Henao (f), member CPDH, Risaralda Section;

Gustavo Marin (m), member CPDH, Risaralda Section;

Dover Hoyos (m), member CPDH, Risaralda Section;

Hernando Aguirre (m), member CPDH, Risaralda Section

and other activists with the CUT, SER, SINTRAEMSDES and CPDH



Amnesty International is seriously concerned for members of trade

unions and non-governmental human rights organizations operating

in the central coffee-producing Risaralda Department, following death

threats against the 13 people named above.


On 21 August, a leaflet was reportedly sent by fax to the offices of the

Sindicato de Educadores de Risaralda, SER, Risaralda Teacher's

Union. It was signed by the Bloque Cacique Calarca, Calarca

Cacique Bloc of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, AUC, United

Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, an army-backed paramilitary

organization. The leaflet urged all those named above, all activists

with the CUT, SER, SINTRAEMSDES or CPDH to leave the region in

no more than 15 days, or the units of the Calarca Bloc would be

forced to take action against them.



Trade unionists and human rights defenders have frequently been

harassed, tortured and killed by paramilitaries who, together with the

security and armed forces, have often accused them of being

guerrilla sympathizers. According to reports from the CUT, so far this

year some 89 trade unionists have been killed, the majority by army-

backed paramilitaries.


Members of SINTRAEMSDES have been threatened in the past.

According to information from SINTRAEMSDES, last year two of its

members were killed in suspicious circumstances. The body of one

showed signs of torture.


The threats against such a large number of human rights defenders

and trade unionists come at a time when their organizations are

campaigning against the labour and social security reforms of the

new government and when the CPDH, Risaralda Section, continues

to denounce the increase of paramilitary activity in the department

and the entire coffee-producing region.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly

as possible:

- expressing concern for the safety of the people named above and

other activists of the CUT, SER, SINTRAEMSDES and CPDH in the

Department of Risaralda following the recent threats;

- 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 and human rights defenders to

be adequately resourced in order to take effective measures;

- urging for an independent, impartial and conclusive investigation to

be carried out into the threats with those responsible brought to


- urging that the authorities take immediate action to dismantle

paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments and

recommendations made by the UN and other intergovernmental




President of the Republic:

Senor Presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez

Presidente de la Republica

Palacio de Narino

Carrera 8 No.7-26

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: Presidente de la Republica, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 566 2071 / 571 3420592

Salutation: Dear President Uribe / Excmo. Sr. Presidente Uribe


Minister of the Interior and Justice:

Dr. Fernando Londono Hoyos

Ministro del Interior y Justicia, Ministerio del Interior y Justicia

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

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

 Telegram: Ministro del Interior, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 599 8404/ 571 5664573

Salutation: Dear Sir / Sr. Ministro


Human Rights Ombudsman:

Dr. Eduardo Cifuentes Munoz, Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoria del


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

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: Defensor del Pueblo, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 640 0491

Salutation: Dear Dr. Cifuentes Munoz / Estimado Dr. Cifuentes




Non-governmental Human Rights Organization:

Comite Permanente por los Derechos Humanos - CPDH

A.A. 12817

Santafe de Bogata



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 October 9, 2002.


Go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/newslett.html

to read this month's newsletter.


Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement

that promotes and defends human rights.


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