The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has thrown its weight behind the continuity of the strike and peaceful mobilizations by workers in Colombia against tax reform bill.
The regional body also condemned what it described as the brutal repression against the Colombian people who have exercised their right to freedom of expression against the tax reform bill and the anti-social policies of your government.
A statement signed by the General Secretary of ITUC-AFRICA, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah demanded that those responsible for the brutal repression against the demonstrators be punished.
According to the statement, report has it that a vicious military escalation has taken place in which state repressive agencies – the National Police and the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) – social cleansing groups and plainclothes police officers with the help of the army have intimidated, persecuted, repressed, injured and murdered, not only union and social leaders, but indiscriminately targeting at the general population.
The statement reads further, “Reports from different human rights organizations said more than 1089 cases of violence, 726 arbitrary detentions, 28 protesters killed, 234 wounded, 5 demonstrators disappeared, 12 people with ocular mutilation and rape of 6 women by the ESMAD.
The announcement of the withdrawal of the tax reform bill is a triumph of the massive social protest and citizen mobilization, but it does not satisfy the demands of the Colombian people, because since then your government has proposed the immediate presentation of another bill, through methods that are still unclear.
“We support the continuity of the strike and peaceful mobilizations in line with the decisions of the National Strike Committee (Comité Nacional del Paro) and multiple social organizations that accompany it.
“We support the legitimate demands of the Colombian people for the demilitarization of the urban areas and cities, The dismantling of ESMAD, Punishment for those responsible for the brutal repression against the demonstrations and guarantees for the right of peaceful protest.”