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IndustriALL condemns violence in Colombia

6 May, 2021The people of Colombia are victims of police repression for demonstrating in the streets. Together with global union federations, IndustriALL rejects the armed violence against the country’s citizens, which has led to disappearances, arrests, injuries and deaths.

On 28 April, a national strike rejecting a proposed tax reform with increased taxes on public services, started in Colombia. The country’s President Iván Duque responded to the massive and peaceful demonstrations with excessive police violence.

So far, 28 people have died, 234 have been injured, 726 have been arbitrarily detained and more than 100 people are missing.

On 4 May, global union federations sent a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, asking them to urgently intervene in Colombia to stop the brutal police violence.

They also called on the Colombian government to promote dialogue and to listen to the demands of the National Strike Committee, who called for the national protest against the tax reform, the health, economic and social crisis, which are results of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although the government announced the withdrawal of the proposed tax reform on 2 May, the National Strike Committee called for continued protests, an end to the massacre and that those responsible be held accountable.

IndustriALL affiliates in Colombia took to the streets again today. USO president Edwin Palma Egea explains:

“Our democracy is at risk; the government is creating internal turmoil to justify militarizing the  streets and to massacre our youth. We call on the government to sit down and negotiate with all social parties to resolve the situation before there are more violence and deaths."

In a letter to Colombia’s President Iván Duque, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:

“We strongly condemn the brutal repression of the Colombian people exercising their right to freedom of expression, demonstrating against the tax reform bill and other harmful policies of their government.

“We support the legitimate demands of the Colombian people, and we support the strike, the peaceful mobilizations in line with the decisions of the National Strike Committee and the many social organizations that support them.”