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Voltaire Network

Galway - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

Colombia: The Most Dangerous Place In The World To Carry A Union Card

category galway | worker & community struggles and protests | event notice author Sunday September 27, 2009 11:34author by Sarah - Amnesty International Report this post to the editors

Siptu and Amnesty International mark the ILO's Worldwide Day for Decent Work with a panel discussion on the situation for trade union activists in Colombia

Amnesty International Freedom Café 2-3 Middle St Galway

Tuesday 6 October 7.30pm

Panelists: Sarah Clancy (Amnesty International Campaigns Officer). Michael Mc McCaughan (Galway One World Centre, journalist & former Latin America correspondent for The Irish Times and The Guardian) Paul Michael Garrett (Chairperson, and Siptu NUIG Academic Section Shop Steward).

According to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) more than 2500 trade union activists have been killed in Colombia during the last fifteen years. Despite the fact that trade union activists in Colombia are seldom guilty of anything more than seeking to secure decent working conditions for themselves and their communities, they face severe ongoing repression including abduction, torture, intimidation and murder. There is a culture of impunity in Colombia, and those who commit these acts are seldom held accountable.

Siptu and Amnesty International Ireland are collaborating to mark the International Labour Organisation’s Worldwide Day for Decent Work to promote action on this urgent situation.

According to the organizers: ‘This event aims to be much more than just a “talking shop” - we aim to begin to organize solidarity actions between trade union and human rights campaigners in Galway and those in Colombia’.

There will be time for questions following the panel discussion and some suggestions will be presented for ways in which those attending may become involved in campaigning for the human rights of those involved in the Colombian Trade Union movement.

There is no charge for this event and all are welcome to attend.

For more information:

Sarah Clancy (Campaigns Officer at our Amnesty 's Galway office)

sclancy at or 086 7924095

Paul Michael Garrett (SIPTU Academic Section, Shop Steward, NUIG)

PM.Garrett at or 091 495243

Related Link:
author by Sarah Amnesty - Amnesty Internationalpublication date Fri Oct 02, 2009 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This event has been moved to upstairs in Kelly's Bar Bridge St Galway at 7.30pm on Tuesday. Apologies for any inconvenience

author by Sarah Amnesty - Amnesty International publication date Mon Oct 05, 2009 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Due to a tragic death over the weekend we have had to change venues once more-

This talk will now take place Tomorrow Tue 6th Oct in Arus Na Geal, Dominic St, Galway at 7.30 pm

This is right beside the Galway Arts Centre. Apologies once more for any confusion.

author by Scepticpublication date Wed Oct 07, 2009 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is also worth noting that the free organizing of trade unions activities attracts severe penalties including death and years of hard labour in China (except Taiwan and Hong Kong), North Korea, Cuba, Burma and many other places. These penalties are often applied collectively. Perhaps Amnesty, ICTU and these worthy speakers could also give attention to these countries as far as unions are concerned.

author by not so sceptical... - N/Apublication date Wed Oct 07, 2009 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sceptic - best not to pick on these grassroots guys who are organising a solidarity event- sure there are problems in other places but surely some action is better than none? Personally with all that 's going on here on the jobs front etc I think it's good to see unions still getting involved in solidarity with others. I think as well,a look at the Amnesty website would tell you that they do in fact often focus on China and Burma at least...

author by Topperpublication date Wed Oct 07, 2009 22:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you're concerned about the right to organise trade unions in China, Burma, North Korea, then by all means go ahead and organise some kind of event that people can support. I'm sure people would be glad to help out workers organising in those countries in whatever way they can. There's a very good reason for prioritising Colombia - it is by far the most dangerous country to be a trade unionist, in any given year the majority of trade unionists murdered around the world are killed in Colombia. If Amnesty, ICTU etc. have to choose a single country to prioritise trade union solidarity work, it should certainly be Colombia.

Hang on a minute, it's just occured to me - Colombia is an ally of the US, whereas the countries you mentioned aren't. I'm sure that's not why you're having a go at people trying to organise solidarity with trade unionists who are constantly at risk of being murdered. After all, that would be pretty sick, wouldn't it?

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