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Exploited Labor: News & Updates
November 23, 2021
Two campesino leaders, Celenia Bonilla and her husband Nelson García, were assassinated on November 21. They were attacked while gardening on the patio of their home in the Cañada de Flores sector of Guaimaca municipality, Francisco Morazán Department. Their three children (the youngest one-year-old) are now left orphaned. Nelson García was president of the campesino association Hombres y Mujeres de Fé (Men and Women of Faith). Together with another campesino association, 44 families have been farming the land in Cañada de Flores for ten years against a backdrop of persecution. Although the municipality of Guaimaca has the land registered as an ejido (common land), an individual has been claiming private ownership. The CNTC (National Center of Rural Workers) has previously denounced threats and harassment of members of these two campesino associations. We demand that the government investigate these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice. We also urge the government to develop public policies on access to and tenure of land in order to address the structural issues of land conflicts.
November 17, 2021
Thank you to the more than 120 people who attended the IRTF annual Commemoration of the Martyrs online on Sunday, November 7. You helped to create a beautiful and moving tribute to human rights defenders throughout southern Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Here you will find links to (1) Commemoration program book 2021, (2) Zoom recording of the event, (3) Facebook livestream recording, (4) playlist from the social hour, (5) an additional play list, (6) how you can add your name to urgent human rights letters, (7) donations for the Honduras support fund, (8) IRTF Legacy Circle planned giving fund, and (9) highlights from the speakers' presentations. Thank you!
November 10, 2021
Members of the Equal Exchange Food Justice Action Forum gather (online) monthly to discuss innovation, global solidarity, social imagining and learning, and economic justice—the foundations of Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs). Alternative Trade Organizations (such as Equal Exchange) have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The monthly meetings of the Equal Exchange Food Action Forum (aka Citizen-Consumer Network) allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out in our local communities. Join the movement to democratize our food system and end corporate control!
September 24, 2021
Ramón López Jiménez, a 44-year-old father of three small children and rural community leader in Jalapa Department, left home to work early in the morning of September 20. When he had not returned home in the afternoon, his family went out to look for him. His dead body, showing signs of gunshots and machete wounds, was discovered in a gutter near a creek near the Volcán de Paz in the village of La Paz, Santa María Xalapán. Ramón López Jiménez served as treasurer for the Jalapa chapter of CODECA (Committee for Campesino Development) in Jalapa. His assassination on September 20 occurred just five days after CODECA chapters throughout the country held public demonstrations against the government on the occasion of the bicentennial of Central America’s independence from Spain. His is the 21st assassination of CODECA members since 2018. To date, there has been no justice in any of the cases.
September 2, 2021
Emma Banks details the findings of #MisionSOSColombia, an international verification mission investigating human rights violations since the protests began on April 28. #MisionSOSColombia built on the findings of three similar preceding missions, covering a wider geographic area and collecting hundreds of personal testimonies that demonstrate the systematic political and violent repression of protests in Colombia. It found clear evidence of disproportionate use of force by police, violence from paramilitaries and armed civilians, and arbitrary detentions of protestors. #MisionSOSColombia calls on the Colombian government to immediately halt their efforts to end the protests through violence against protestors and the persecution of social movement leaders. The international community must demand that the Colombian government comply with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. International allies of the Colombian government should cut aid packages if human rights abuses continue.
August 31, 2021
Colombia’s human rights crisis continued throughout August 2021, as social activists, trade unionists, students and FARC former combatants were targeted in violent attacks. The month saw several targeted killings and massacres, with authorities seemingly unable to contain deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in various parts of the country.
August 18, 2021
CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO PUT #DIGNITYFIRST
As they prepare the budget, Congress can honor the dignity of immigrant and mixed status families in the following ways:
Cut funding for the detention, deportation & destruction of our communities;
Include a pathway to citizenship for all; and,
Promote public health and community healing.
June 30, 2021
Alternative Trade Organizations (such as Equal Exchange) have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including co-ops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The monthly Food Action Forum meetings allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out in our local communities. In today’s overwhelmingly digital world we want to find ways to create meaningful and deep connections with this community, connections that are two-way, connections that are active, not passive. Join us as we work together to build a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the Global South to consumers in the Global North.
May 7, 2021
On April 2, INDEPAZ (Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo de la Paz) documented the 24th massacre of 2021. The three victims in La Pata, Huila Department, belonged to the same family: 55-year-old Luis Eliber Quintero Trujillo and his sons, 32-year-old Ricardo and 29-year-old Luis. By April 26, the 32nd massacre was recorded. It occurred in the rural area of Sonsón, Antioquia Department, where paramilitary groups have recently intensified their activities, particularly around control of illegal mining operations. Three people were shot dead at 9:40pm on Sunday night, April 25. The victims were Yulieth Natalia Díaz Carmona (age 23), Julián Vanegas Marulanda (age 26), and Michel Daiana Sánchez (age 13).
May 2, 2021
The countries of Latin America commemorated International Labor Day on May 1 with restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic but with firm claims of a speedy economic recovery. Colombia again witnessed demonstrations but, unlike the previous three days of protests against the tax reform proposed by the government, they took place calmly and without major incident on May Day in different cities, where better labor conditions were demanded. Hundreds of Honduran workers marched to demand that the government promote “mass vaccination” against COVID-19 and other measures to mitigate the crises caused by the pandemic. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Latin America in March 2020, the region has lowered its gross domestic product to 2010 levels, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, 57 percent of employment is precarious and poverty has returned to the levels of 15 years ago, according to the secretary general of the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) for Education, Science and Culture, Mariano Jabonero, in a recent interview with EFE.