Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Colombia jail claims 'are entirely false'

After reading the article headlined 'Irish pupils meet activist they freed from Colombian prison cell' (News, December 6), I would like to make the following comments.

Rosalba Gaviria Toro was freed on June 3, 2011, by the Colombian justice system, which is entirely independent of the executive and the legislature.

The judge studied the evidence presented by the prosecutors and made an independent decision, which has nothing to do with political pressure - neither domestic nor international.

It is completely false that in Colombia there are "over 3,000 trade unionists imprisoned".

Yes, there are, unfortunately, still some cases of murders of persons affiliated to unions in Colombia; however, 85% of these homicides are a consequence of the general violence that sadly still afflicts our nation (despite the homicide rate having been reduced by 56% in the past decade) and has nothing to do with a campaign against unionists, as some would have people believe.

No violent death is acceptable. The government of Colombia is wholeheartedly committed to the protection, promotion and defence of the human and labour rights of every Colombian; and is working hard to bring security and prosperity for all Colombians and ensure that those responsible for violations be brought to justice as efficiently as possible.

MAURICIO RODRIGUEZ MUNERA

Ambassador, Embassy of Colombia, London

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