WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
6 Jun 2007

Press Conference with U.S. Congress on Colombian President Uribe’s Visit

Thursday, June 7 at 10:30 am, members of Congress, union leaders, and human rights leaders united to oppose business-as-usual with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe will speak in 1116 Longworth House Office Building.



June 6, 2007, For immediate release

For more information contact:
Roger Atwood, WOLA (202) 797-2171

Gimena Sanchez, WOLA (202) 797-2171

Heather Hanson, U.S. Office on Colombia (202) 232-8090

Lisa Haugaard, LAWG (202) 546-7010

Holly Shulman, Public Citizen (202) 454-5111

Jeff Vogt, AFL-CIO (202) 637-3904

Renata Rendón, Amnesty International USA (202) 544-0200

Nicole Lee, TransAfrica Forum (202) 223-1960 ext. 134


Uribe’s Return to Washington Puts Focus

on Human Rights in Colombia



Members of Congress, Labor and Human Rights Leaders

Tell Congress to Change Colombia Policy


WHO:            Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Jim McGovern, Linda Sanchez

and other leading voices in Congress on human rights in Colombia 

                                 Jeff Vogt, AFL-CIO

                                José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch

                Renata Rendón, Amnesty International USA

Nicole Lee, TransAfrica Forum

John Jairo Garces, Organización Un Dia de Esperaza, son of murdered union leader from Buenaventura


WHEN:         10:30 AM Thursday, June 7, 2007

WHERE:       1116 Longworth House Office Building

WHAT:          Press conference with members of Congress, union leaders, and human rights leaders united to oppose business-as-usual with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.

VISUALS:  Participants will be wearing black, in mourning for the 400 union members murdered in Colombia, the vast majority with impunity, since Alvaro Uribe took office in 2000. 


For over a decade, international and Colombian human rights organizations have documented the alleged links between the paramilitary Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and individuals in Colombia’s military and political establishment. Recently, the Colombian Supreme Court and Attorney General’s office have opened investigations into these links.

Colombians responsible for uncovering the truth and advancing these investigations continue to face extreme risks to their personal safety. 

As the Colombian government continues its full-court press to obtain a free trade agreement with the United States, Colombia retains its position as the country where more trade unionists are murdered than in the rest of the world combined.  Seventy-two union members were assassinated in 2006.  Since President Uribe came to office, a total of over 400 trade unionists have been killed; as of April 2007 there have been convictions in only 10 of these cases.

These concerns with the situation in Colombia prompt the groups involved in this event to demand a new US foreign policy that prioritizes economic aid over military aid, that supports the victims of the internal armed conflict, and that ensures respect for workers rights and human rights in Colombia.