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Gender & Sexual Solidarity: News & Updates

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Trade unionist Ruby Castaño is a leader in the FENSUAGRO agricultural trade union and a human rights defender. Colombia remains the world’s deadliest country for trade unionists, with at least 20 killed between March 2020 and April 2021, according to the International Trade Union Confederation. No trade union has been more violently targeted than FENSUAGRO, which has seen around 35 members killed since Colombia’s peace agreement was signed in late 2016. However, its members continue to campaign tirelessly around the labour, human and social rights of rural communities. In our interview with Ruby, she discusses her life as a trade unionist and human rights defender, and why Colombia is so dangerous for those who fight for a fairer society. (source: Justice for Colombia’s ongoing series that focuses on the important work of women activists in Colombia and the challenges they face.)
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The case of the 17 year old student Riccy Mabel Martínez puts in the public eye the most extreme violence that women in Honduras suffer: femicide. July 13, 2021 marked 30 years since the violent murder of the student, violated and assassinated with rage by military personnel in a case in which impunity took precedence. "It was the femicide that marked a precedent, above all for the fight against the violent deaths of women," said the coordinator for el Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de Mujeres (CDM), Helen Ocampo, to Criterio.hn. However, these crimes "with the years have been normalized more," she added. Between 2011 and 2020, 4,707 violent deaths of women were registered, according to CDM.
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Please see a summary of the letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, and (3) bring human rights criminals to justice. IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn , or ask us to mail you hard copies.
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A June 2021 report from Amnesty International showed the Biden administration needs improvement on making the U.S. a safe refuge.
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Please see a summary of the six letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: -protect people living under threat -demand investigations into human rights crimes -bring human rights criminals to justice IRTF’s Rapid Response Network volunteers write letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn, or ask us to mail you hard copies.
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Together with the movement against militarism in Colombia, we denounce the sexual violence committed by members of the ESMAD anti-riot police that also caused a young woman to commit suicide. We raise our voices in outrage at the systematic sexual and gender violence carried out by the Army and the Public Force members. These violations are a serious expression of patriarchal violence exercised under the power of an institutional armed actor, which legalizes and legitimizes the idea that power is exercised over the bodies of women, teenagers, and girls. We join with civil society organizations across Colombia who are organizing resistance to war and speaking out against all forms of violence.
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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).
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Rivas Beaches in Good Environmental Condition: The results of an UNAN research study indicate that the environmental quality of the waters of the bays on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast are between optimal and suitable for recreational activities and the preservation of flora and fauna. But there is contamination by microplastics in the beach sand and large variations in acidity and temperature that compromise conditions for organisms such as oysters. So there are still actions to be taken for the conservation of marine resources in the area. The study provides information for decision-making that will lead to sustainable management of the marine-coastal areas. A group of researchers from the Center for Research in Aquatic Resources of UNAN-Managua in conjunction with the Paso Pacífico Organization carried out five environmental studies in the south Pacific Coast area of Nicaragua in the period 2011-2019. Read this and 10 other news briefs from this week.

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