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Another Colombian trade union leader threatened

CNV is very concerned about the safety of trade union leaders in Colombia. There has been a wave of threats and violence in the past months. Recently, Percy Oyola, vice president of trade union confederation CGT, received a death threat.

Besides being vice president of the CGT in Colombia, Percy Oyola Palomá is also president of UTRADEC, the confederation of government workers. In that capacity he was involved in the establishment of SINDIMUNCIPIOS, a local trade union of officials of the municipality of Obando (Valle de Cauca).

He was also active in starting up the negotiations for collective labour agreements with the government. Unionists were met with resistance from the start, while employers tried to dismiss trade union leaders. On 30 July various pamphlets were found in the garden of a trade union leader, and also published on the Internet. These contained death threats aimed at Percy Oyola and his colleagues.

Picture: Percy Oyola greets Pope during his visit to Latin America

In the past months it has become clear how serious these threats are. Guiliano Pierrucci, a trade union leader in the prison sector, was assassinated in June. Elsa Paez, also a trade union leader in the prison sector was shot at in July. She survived the attack.

CNV Internationaal has repeatedly urged Colombian government organisations to ramp up their efforts in tackling threats and violence against the trade union movement in Colombia. This does not only involve protection programmes that recently saw budget cuts but also compliance with labour rights and trade union rights in general.

Together with CGT, CNV Internationaal is fighting for better compliance with human rights, labour rights, and trade union rights in Colombia.

The project Enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of trade unionists in Colombia“ is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Confederación General de Trabajo CGT and CNV Internationaal.

The partners would like to acknowledge the generous support of the European Union in making this possible. This website article reflects the views only of the authors, and the Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Publication date 30 08 2016