archivos de los protestos globales

Safety of Invisible Struggles Tour Delegation

Toronto, 2001-03-26

Greetings from the coordinators of the Canada-Colombia Solidarity Campaign 2001. The “ "Invisible Struggles” Tour delegation has now returned to Colombia. Before leaving, they wanted us to express their gratitude for your warmth and solidarity, as well as for your commitment to a long struggle for life and justice, which we all share.

We are concerned about their safety once back in Colombia. As a result, we have sent the attached letter in Spanish and English to Claudio Grossman, the President of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States in Washington D.C.

We urge you to sign this letter (or your own version of it) and send it immediately to Mr. Grossman with copies to the list of Colombian and Canadian government officials that appear in the letter. We recommend that you fax and e-mail Colombian government officials in Colombia to ensure that they receive the letter. Also send a copy of your letters to the Canada-Colombia Solidarity Campaign 2001.

Finally, these letters and the persistent international attention given to the safety of the Colombian delegates and their organizations is essential to their protection.

Manuel Rozental

Canada-Colombia Solidarity Campaign 2001


Canada-Colombia Solidarity Campaign 2001: Invisible Struggles Tour

Canada, March 22, 2001
Claudio Grossman
President Inter American Commission for Human Rights
Organization of American States
Washington D.C

Ref: Security of the delegates to Colombia's "Invisible Struggle" Tour of Canada

In the last report on Colombia, presented in Geneva this week, the United Nation's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, underscores the grave situation affecting that country. Representatives of diverse social movements from Colombia were invited and took part in the "Invisible Struggles Tour" of Canada between the 9th and the 23rd of March 2001. The purpose of the delegates was to visibilize their situation, present their experience and perspectives on the Colombian situation, exchange knowledge and expertise with Canadian counterparts and generate support and solidarity for the diverse efforts represented by the delegation and which are being implemented in the midst of an armed conflict and a situation of deep crisis. The social movements involved in the "Invisible Struggles Tour" are autonomous in their organizational, participatory and developmental strategies, while they hold a common commitment both towards a negotiated solution that would put an end to the armed conflict in Colombia, and to their autonomy and independence from all armed actors involved in the conflict. The delegation -constituted by representatives of indigenous communities and organizations, afro descendants, women, peasants and unions - underscored, wherever they went, the fact that none of the armed actors represents them. Given that the delegates represent both the worse victims of the crisis in Colombia, and the protagonists of some of the most creative and feasible alternatives to it, they claim their right to represent themselves directly at the negotiation scenarios between the Colombian government and the insurgency. The participation of popular social movements requires granting them their right to be involved in all decision making processes regarding peace negotiations as well as any other processes where decisions to overcome the Colombian crisis take place. On March 16th 2001, the Colombian Ambassador in Canada, Fanny Kertzman, was directly informed by the delegates of the points expressed above, during a meeting of the delegation with her at the Colombian Embassy in Ottawa. Sheila Katz, in representation of the Canadian Labour Congress, was also present at this meeting.

Considering that: 1) Colombia is experiencing a grave situation in terms of human rights violations and that there is evidence of the systematic implementation of strategies to silence the voices and invisibilize the efforts of popular social movements and organizations; 2) there have been cases where some Canadian individuals and organizations dedicated to solidarity efforts and to the protection of Human Rights in Colombia have been wrongly accused or stigmatized; and, 3) in the past, other Colombian leaders who were invited to Canada were harassed and threatened in Colombia. In fact, one of them, ELIZABETH CAÑAS, was assassinated.

We want to express to you our concern for the safety and well-being of the leaders that took part in the "Invisible Struggles" Tour (please see their list below) and request that you proceed on their behalf with whatever actions and communications you estimate to be convenient and necessary leading to demand appropriate actions by governments and responsible agencies leading to preventive measures to protect the delegates. We also request that, acting on their behalf and in case it becomes necessary, you demand from the Canadian Embassy in Bogotá and other responsible agencies, the establishment of effective mechanisms and urgent actions to save their lives and those of the members of organizations, communities and social movements they represent.

Sincerely, with utmost respect and gratitude,


Colombian Delegation to the "Invisible Struggles" Tour of Canada:

Patricia Buriticá. Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia. Bogotá
María del Pilar Córdoba. Ruta Pacífica de Mujeres. Medellín
Dora Guzmán González. Organización Femenina Popular de Barrancabermeja y el Magdalena Medio.
Agustín Reyes. ASOPRICOR, Tocaima, Cundinamarca y Red de Comunidades y Territorios de Paz.
Carlos Alfonso Rosero. Proceso de Comunidades Negras y AFRODES. Bogotá
Ezequiel Vitonás Talanga. Proyecto NASA. Toribío, Cauca


President Inter American Commission for Human Rights
Organization of American States
Washington D.C.
Fax: (202) 274-4005

Presidente de la República de Colombia

Consejero Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos
Fax (571) 341-8364

Procurador General de la Nación,
Tel-fax: (571) 342-9723, (571) 281-7531

Fiscal General de la Nación,
Tel fax (571) 570-2022

Defensor del Pueblo
Fax: (571) 346-1225

Ministro del Interior
Fax: (571) 314-7 00, (571) 691-5455
Fax: (571) 251-5884

Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ambassador of Canada to Colombia

Ambassador of Colombia to Canada

Fax: (416) 769-4714

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