This section provides updates on the work of Justice for Colombia Ireland.


Justice for Colombia

JFC LogoJustice For Colombia

"To be a trade unionist in Colombia is to walk with a gravestone on your back."

Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a union member. Over 2500 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia in the last 15 years.

The level of impunity for these crimes committed against trade union members and human rights defenders is very high. That is why it is imperative that the international community act to ensure that the Colombian government must respect the UN Declaration of Human Rights and core International Labour Standards.

Research carried out by Amnesty International indicates co-coordinated strategies between the Colombian military and paramilitary death squads to make the work of trade unionists impossible through assassination and intimidation. Over 2,500 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia in the last 15 years whilst trying to defend the right to collective bargaining and freedom of speech. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) states that the conviction rate for the murders of trade union members in Colombia is 1%.

Justice for Colombia [JFC UK] is an NGO that campaigns for human rights, workers' rights and the search for peace with social justice in Colombia. Established in 2002 by a group of British trade unionists, JFC was created in response to the appalling human rights crisis in Colombia.

The four key aims of Justice for Colombia are:

  1. To provide concrete support to trade unions and other civil society organisations in Colombia in their struggle for humas rights, trade union rights, democracy, peace and social justice and to promote links between progressive organisations in Britain and Colombia.
  3. To campaign against the systematic human rights abuses carried out against trade unionists and other civil society activists in Colombia and to highlight the regular collusion between the Colombian state security forces and illegal paramilitary groups and the impunity which the perpetrators benefit from.
  5. To support and promote a peaceful politically negotiated settlement to the conflict in Colombia and express opposition to foreign military intervention in Colombia.
  7. To insist that UN and ILO conventions and recommendations are implemented in Colombia in both law and practice.

The Irish branch of Justice For Colombia

In 2008, the ICTU Global Solidarity Committee established the Irish branch of the trade union solidarity network Justice For Colombia [JFC Irl]. Trade union organisations, union branches, trades councils and individuals can affiliate and become members of the JFC Ireland network.

The following groups have already affiliated and support the work which JFC Ireland undertakes; ASTI, CPSU, CWU, CWU Dublin Postal Branch, CWU Dublin No1 & Dublin No. 2 branches, CWU Galway Postal, CWU Portlaoise Postal, ESBOA, Galway Trades Council, IFUT, IMPACT, INTO, Kildare Trades Council, MANDATE, PSEU, SIPTU, SIPTU Health Division, TUI, Unite, and Wexford Council of Trade Unions. The committee would like to thank most sincerely all those who have affiliated which means that JFC Ireland can continue to campaign and support our trade union colleagues who live under constant threat and in danger for their lives.

Jack O'Connor President [SIPTU] is President of JFC Ireland, Michael Dowling (SIPTU & Kildare Trades Council) is Chairperson, Martin MacMaolain [ASTI] is vice-chairperson and John O'Brien [INTO] holds the position of secretary. The JFC Committee meets every second month in Congress House, directly after the ICTU Global Solidarity Committee meetings.

For more information on the work of this group, to get involved and find out how to suport the work of JFC Ireland please contact Fiona Dunne at ICTU's Global Solidarity Office or John O'Brien JFC Secretary.

Congress passes motion on Colombia at 2011 Biennial Delegate Conference

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions passed a motion at its Bi-Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney on 6th July 2011, reaffirming its commitment to supporting the campaign to block the proposed EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and the campaign to free political prisoners. JFC Ireland has been instrumental in the lobbying efforts to block the EU-Colombia FTA campaign, achieving the consensus of all Irish MEPs, across all parties, in opposition to the proposed agreement.