Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Report: Colombian union killers undeterred

Murdered Colombian union leader.
Murders of union leaders continue in Colombia because the government won't prosecute the killers, according to Human Rights Watch. The report is timely because Congress is preparing to vote on trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.
According to the Associated Press,
A new study challenges claims from the administration of President Barack Obama that Colombia is making important strides in bringing to justice killers of labor activists and so deserves U.S. congressional approval of a long-stalled free trade pact.

The Human Rights Watch study found "virtually no progress" in getting convictions for killings that have occurred in the past 4 1/2 years.

It counted just six convictions obtained by a special prosecutions unit from 195 slayings between January 2007 and May 2011, with nearly nine in 10 of the unit's cases from that period in preliminary stages with no suspect formally identified.
Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Colombia Attorney General Viviane Morales suggesting ways to stop the killings.

Here's another way: The U.S. Congress could refuse to pass a trade deal with Colombia. Call your senators and representatives today to tell them to vote against all three trade deals. The number for the congressional switchboard is 800-718-1008.