Ask Chileans, ask Argentines, ask Peruvians. They’ll all tell you that you can’t cover up large scale, state run human rights abuses, state terrorism, extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and all their cohorts forever. Sooner or later the word begins to get out. So add this communique from a working party of UK members of parliament and US/Canada/UK trade unionss to the 1,000 army personnel being investigated for ‘false positives’ and the 22,000 (yes, twenty-two thousand) cases of disappeared. And unlike their partners in torture and crime, these British MPs don’t mince words and directly imply Alvaro Uribe.
All in the name of freedom and democracy…….as usual.
PRESS STATEMENT: JUSTICE FOR COLOMBIA DELEGATION
We are a delegation of British Parliamentarians and British, American and Canadian trade unionists, and have spent seven days here in Colombia gathering information on human and labour rights abuses. We have met a wide range of individuals and groups across Colombian society, covering civil, political, legal and military interests, including trade unions, students and teachers, indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, trade union lawyers, human rights defenders, and former FARC hostages. We have travelled to Arauca province to hear the testimonials of communities and individuals caught up in the conflict in that part of the country. We visited Buon Pastor prison in Bogota and spoke to the women political prisoners incarcerated there; we also met with Martin Sandoval, imprisoned unjustly in Arauca. We had the opportunity in speaking also with senior members of Alvaro Uribe’s government and the President himself. We are grateful to all those individuals and groups who have generously given us their time.
We are shocked at what we have heard, and have no doubts on the evidence given that the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe, and the security forces, are complicit in human rights crimes. We are convinced also that the murderous activities of the paramilitary forces are condoned and actively supported by the government and army. These crimes are aggravated by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and the failure of the legal system to prosecute the criminals and those who issue the orders.
Instead of imprisoning the real criminals, the Government has locked up trade unionists, members of the political opposition and human rights defenders like Martin Sandoval. We call for his immediate release and that of other political prisoners and trade unionists.
On our return to the United Kingdom and North America we will be calling for:
A full account of our findings and recommendations will be published in the near future.
Signatures Appended, Wednesday, 8 April 2009
List of Delegates
Ian Davidson MP: Member of Parliament for Glasgow;
David Drever: President of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS);
Simon Dubbins: Director of International Relations of Unite the Union and member of the Executive of the European TUC;
Sam Gurney: International Policy Officer for the TUC and member of the ILO Governing Body
Sally Hunt: General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), also a member of the Justice for Colombia National Committee and of both the TUC Executive and TUC General Council where she is spokesperson on international relations;
Peter Kilfoyle MP: Member of Parliament for Liverpool, former Government Minister;
Adam Lee: International Officer of the United Steelworkers (USW);
Andy Love MP: Member of Parliament for Edmonton, Parliamentary Private Secretary;
James McGovern MP: Member of Parliament for Dundee;
John O’Neill: Partner at Thompsons Solicitors;
Sandra Osborne MP: Member of Parliament for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock, Member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee;
Stephanie Peacock: Member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee;
Frederick Redmond: International Vice President of the United Steelworkers (USW) and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council;
Mark Rowlinson: Legal Officer of the United Steelworkers (USW);
Mick Shaw: President of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU);
James Sheridan MP: Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North;
Tony Woodhouse: Chair of the National Executive Committee of Unite the Union.