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Announcement :: Human Rights : International : Labor
URGENT - Take Action to Support Colombian Labor Leader!
06 Apr 2005
Miguel Fernandez, a former participant of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center's human rights and education exchange program, is being threatened and needs immediate international support from activists in the U.S to ensure his safety.
Take Action to Support Colombian Labor Leader!

Miguel Fernandez, a former participant of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center's human rights and education exchange program, is being threatened and needs immediate international support from activists in the U.S to ensure his safety.

On March 8, 2005, Miguel Alberto Fernandez Orozco, President of the workers' union federation -Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT)- in the region of Cauca, Colombia, received an envelope at the office containing a death threat and funeral notice. These incidents occurred one day after the
public presentation of the 2004 human rights report in Cauca, in which peasant farmers, indigenous leaders and human rights ombudspersons participated.

Miguel also received a threatening phone message last week.

Some of you may know Miguel from his 9-month stay in the U.S. with the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center training and protection program for Colombian trade unionists in 2004. While in the U.S., Miguel collaborated with SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign in Boston, participated in many events organized by Jobs with Justice in Boston, Amnesty International, and United Auto Workers. He also participated on a panel along with US/LEAP at a SEIU 1199P leadership assembly in September 2004. Miguel returned to Colombia in
December 2004.

Please take a minute to contact the Colombian Vice President and Ministry of Interior as well as the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, demanding that
Miguel is kept safe.

See below for a sample letter and email and mail addresses.

Miguel's union CUT/Cauca is demanding that:

1. Mr. Rafael Bustamante, Ministry of Interior, Human Rights Office, immediately and urgently implement the "hard" security scheme in the form of
individual protection for our colleague MIGUEL ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ OROZCO.

2. The Colombian government reactivate the Intersectoral Commission to Monitor Investigations into Human Rights Violations in the Macizo
Colombiano, pursuant to Decree 833 of May 11, 2001.

3. The Colombian local and federal government, and the state institutions responsible for the human rights of Colombians, provide guarantees for the
communities and leaders in the exercise of their human rights, and as they strengthen the social organizations to build a peaceful Colombia.


SAMPLE LETTER (which can go to all offices listed below):

Dear _____________________.

I write to you today because I am very concerned about the continuing high levels of violence against Colombian labor leaders in Colombia. In particular I write to you in regards to the urgent security situation facing Colombian labor leader, MIGUEL ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ OROZCO.

I would like to urge the Colombian government to (1) immediately and urgently implement the "hard" security scheme in the form of individual
protection for MIGUEL ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ OROZCO, (2) reactivate the Intersectoral Commission to Monitor Investigations into Human Rights Violations in the Macizo Colombiano, pursuant to Decree 833 of May 11, 2001,
and (3) provide guarantees for the communities and leaders in the exercise of their human rights, and as they strengthen the social organizations to
build a peaceful Colombia.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

_____________________


MR. FRANCISCO SANTOS
Vice-President of Colombia
Carrera 8 # 7- 57
Bogota, Colombia
Fax 011 57 1 566 2387 or 565 7682
Email: fsantos (at) presidencia.gov.co


Dr. Rafael Bustamante
Human Rights Unit - Area of Prevention
Protection Program
Ministry of Interior
Carrera 8 # 13-31 Piso 13
Bogota, Colombia
Fax 011-571-566-3234
E-mail: dhdirector (at) cable.net.co


CC:
Honorable William Wood
US Ambassador in Colombia
(fax) 011-571-315-2163. or 315 2197
Email (care of Jerome P. Hohman, Human Rights Officer): hohmanjp (at) state.gov

CUT Director of International Relations
Ramón Támara
Fax : 57 1 323 7550
cut (at) cut.org.co


Rodney Ortiz
Coordinator
Colombia Trade Union Training Program
Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO
1925 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

Tel. 202.778.4658

This work is in the public domain
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