ITUC OnLine – February 27, 2009

Brussels, 27 February 2009 (ITUC OnLine):  The ITUC has strongly condemned the murder of four trade unionists during the first two months of 2009.
 
Leovigildo Mejía, a member of the Santander Agrarian Workers’ Association, ASOGRAS; Luis Alberto Arango Crespo, president of the Fishing and Agricultural Workers’ Association and leader of the Small-Scale Fishing Association of Magdalena Medio; Guillermo Antonio Ramírez Ramírez, a teacher affiliated to the education union in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda; and Leoncio Gutiérrez, a teacher affiliated to the Toro branch of SUTEV in Valle del Cauca; all lost their lives on account of their trade union activities.
 
The national, regional and international trade union movements have joined with the three Colombian union confederations in the unwavering condemnation of the relentless attacks on the Colombian trade union movement, committed in blatant violation of the core ILO Conventions ratified by Colombia. These attacks take the form of intimidation, persecution and threats issued by telephone, text message and e-mail, and the continuous murder of its members and leaders for simply trying to defend workers’ rights. 
 
In a letter to the Colombian authorities, the ITUC has demanded that the government of President Álvaro Uribe ensure exhaustive investigations into these murders.  
 
“It is vital that an end be brought to impunity and that the fundamental trade union rights enshrined in the ILO Conventions ratified by Colombia be respected,” said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC.