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Colombian trade union leader assassinated

27.03.2008

SINTRACARBON, the trade union to which the assassinated leader belonged, has condemned the killing and demanded the capture of those responsible. The IMF has demanded respect for human rights and trade union rights in Colombia.

COLOMBIA: The National Union of Coal Mine Workers, SINTRACARBON, has reported the deplorable news of the assassination of Adolfo González Montes, the union's leader and a member of the Barrancas branch committee.

The union said its leader was tortured and killed at his home on March 22. It also expressed its concern that several other union leaders have received threatening telephone calls and been subjected to harassment, with unknown persons prowling round their homes.

SINTRACARBON is the union of workers at the Carbones del Cerrejón company, owned by the multinationals BHP Billiton (Australia), Anglo-American (London) and Glencore/Xstrata (Switzerland). The company mines coal in the Guajira region of Colombia.

The union has condemned the assassination of its leader and called on "the state security, enforcement, prosecution and other agencies to conduct a speedy investigation and capture those responsible, so that this crime does not remain unpunished, like the other 2,510 killings of trade union leaders in the last ten years in Colombia. All investigations have concluded that the union leaders were the victims of crimes of passion or robbery," said the union.

The IMF's Regional Office in Latin America condemns the killing and the threats and intimidation to which  the union's leaders are being subjected. It calls on the government and the multinational companies to respect human rights and provide the necessary guarantees for the exercise of the freedom of association. As we have repeated countless times in letters to the authorities, we also demand an end to the persecution of the Colombian trade union movement once and for all.