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January 27, 2020
Last week the Special Justice for Peace excavated what could be Colombia's largest mass grave under State crimes known as "false positives”. The "false positives" scandal was a series of murders in Colombia, part of the armed conflict in that country between the government and guerrilla forces of the FARC and the ELN. Members of the military had poor or mentally impaired civilians lured to remote parts of the country with offers of work, killed them, and presented them to authorities as guerrilleros killed in battle, in an effort to inflate body counts and receive promotions or other benefits.
January 26, 2020
We are outraged at the wave of violence that continues to impact many regions of Colombia. Since January 1, two dozen social leaders have been assassinated across the country. In this letter we list the names of 20 assassinations that occurred in 6 departments: Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó, Huila, Norte de Santander, and Putumayo. These victims include ex-combatants who are abiding by the provisions of the Peace Accords by participating in the reincorporation process. Also being killed are farmers who are part of the crop substitution program, another key component of the Peace Accords. We echo the statement by the United Nations Security Council on January 15 which characterizes this as “a grave situation of security” and demands that the government of Colombia take “effective actions” to stop these egregious crimes against social leaders.
January 25, 2020
As a survivor of the Bojayá Massacre in 2002, Leyner Palacios has become an outspoken social leader and, as a consequence, has suffered reprisals, including death threats. Since 2002, the communities of Bojayá have suffered serious human rights violations, including forced displacement and mass killings by paramilitary groups and the army. On December 31, 2019, the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace denounced that 300 members of the AGC arrived at the Bojayá communities of Pogue, Corazón de Jesús, Loma de Bojayá and Cuia, placed them under forced confinement, and threatened to kill them if they tried to resist. On January 3, 2020, they threatened Leyner Palacios, warning him to leave Bojayá or he would be killed.
January 24, 2020
In early 2019, after an international pressure campaign led by the International Labor Rights Forum and Fair World Project, Fyffes seemed to relent, agreeing to talk with the union and reinstate some workers allegedly fired in retaliation. But since then, the union says Fyffes has backtracked, refused to recognize the union, and instead supported parallel company-backed unions. This is meant to preempt militant unions like STAS from establishing themselves as representatives of the temporary workers, who make up 90 percent of the workforce. “The formation of those organizations was part of a pattern of anti union violence against STAS,” says the union’s general secretary, Moises Sanchez, in a phone interview with The Progressive from Honduras, conducted via a translator. “And the reason that they recognized those unions was not because they are a good farm or a good multinational corporation. What we want are exclusive bargaining rights for the temporary workers on the farms who don’t have a voice or a vote to improve their working conditions.”
January 24, 2020
Our Rapid Response Network sent a letter to President Ortega of Nicaragua regarding a recent attack on the son and nephew of women human rights defender Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios, who was granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in September of 2018. On January 5 in Ciudad Sandino, gunmen shot and wounded her son Álvaro Antonio Báez Rodríguez (age 33) and nephew Andison Francisco Chávez Rodríguez (age 27) during an attempt to kidnap them. Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios is an active member of MAM (Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua). Although MAM has historically been independent of any political party alignment, Reyna Rodríguez Palacios is active in the Blue and White National Unity Party and was recently elected to the party’s Political Council. She has experienced harassment at home. Police and paramilitary forces have been surrounding and surveilling her home. The surveillance activity and the attack against her son and nephew appear to be in retaliation for her political party activity in opposition to the Sandinista government.
January 24, 2020
The fight towards justice for Honduran melon workers has been long, and is continuing. In November, the International Labor Rights Forum documented workers falling sick from Fyffes’ (melon growers in Honduras) improper use of a toxic pesticide, the company’s refusal to enroll most of its workers in the national social security system, and ongoing union-busting.
January 23, 2020
The US government has started sending asylum seekers back to Nogales, Mexico, to await court hearings that will be scheduled roughly 350 miles (563km) away in Ciudad Juárez. Authorities are expanding a program known as Remain in Mexico that requires tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait out their immigration court hearings in Mexico. Until this week, the government was driving some asylum seekers from Nogales, Arizona, to El Paso, Texas, so they could be returned to Juárez. Critics say the program, one of several Trump administration policies that have all but ended asylum in the US, puts migrants who fled their home countries back into dangerous Mexican border towns where they are often kidnapped, robbed or extorted.
January 23, 2020
Nicaragua is on track to become the first country in the world to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum. But the unrelenting counterfactual attacks on Nicaragua’s government by Western imperialist feminists and their feminist class allies inside Nicaragua systematically omit that reality.
January 22, 2020
The lawsuit initially was filed in 2015 by 21 young people who argue that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment. A central goal of the litigation was to compel the government to scale back its support for fossil fuel extraction and production, and to support policies aimed at reducing the nation’s emissions. The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has repeatedly argued that the lawsuit should be tossed out before going to trial.
January 21, 2020
Please see the attached letter (January 21, 2020) we sent to the President Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Honduras, urging his government to drop the four bogus criminal charges that are pending against labor leader Moises Sánchez. Tomorrow in court, Moises faces the possibility of 30 years in prison on charges related to the usurpation of private land to build a community access road.