Colombia is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for working people
Murders and impunity
Union-busting and dismissals
Colombia remained the deadliest country for workers and union members, with 22 assassinations in 2020-2021. Most of these crimes remained unresolved, as the government failed to allocate the necessary means for the timely investigation and prosecution of the cases. Without any adequate protection provided to them, trade unionists and their families remained under constant threat to their lives.
Trade unions were also hindered in their activities as employers regularly violated workers’ right to form unions and got rid of workers’ representatives through targeted dismissals and non-renewal of contracts.
Workers' rights violations
Right to free speech and assembly
On 15 May 2020, Brinks Colombia terminated national union president Frank Gualdron, claiming that he had posted images of a work-related protest on Facebook. Gualdron was among eight union officers at Brinks who had been notified of their termination since Colombia declared a COVID-19 health emergency in March 2020, in what appeared to be a deliberate anti-union strategy.
Hamilton Gasca Ortega, a member of the Asociación Sindical de Trabajadores Campesinos de Piamonte Cauca (Asintracampic), affiliated to Fensuagro, was murdered, along with two of his children, in the early hours of 4 April 2020 in the village of La Consolata in the municipality of Piamonte (Cauca). At least four people, heavily armed, arrived at Hamilton's home and shot him dead. Two of his minor children were also killed. His wife, María Josefa Arroyo, survived the attack.
Nelson Ramos Barrera, peasant leader of the Asociación Sindical de Trabajadores Campesinos de Piamonte Cauca (Asintracampic), affiliated to Fensuagro, was assassinated on 13 October 2020 in the village of Yapurá in the municipality of Piamonte (Cauca). Members of an armed group intended to kidnap the peasant leader, but his family put up resistance, so the thugs killed him in front of his wife, children and parents. Nelson Ramos was one of the most representative leaders and was known for working with the youth in the village of Yapura.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, twenty-two trade unionists were murdered in Colombia: John Fredy Alvarez Quinaya; Yordan Tovar; Sandra Mayerly Baquero; Albeiro Silva Mosquera; Luis Hugo Silva Mosquera; Mario Talaga; Arley Hernan Chala Renteria; Alexis Vergara; Hamilton Gasca Ortega; Jairo de Jesus Jimenez Isaza; Candelaria Acendra; Edgar Erney Guejia Dizu; Rubilio Papelito Limon; Jose Gustavo Arcila; Carlos Mario Congo Alvarez; Erminso Trochez Ilamo; Jaider Esteban Quintana Salinas; Nelson Ramos Barrera; Douglas Cortes Mosquera; Bayron Alirio Ravelo; Omar Moreno Ibague; and Carlos Vidal.