Free Colombian trade unionist Liliana Obando!

We write to you with a request for urgent action in solidarity with Ms Liliana Obando representative of the Agricultural Workers Union Federation (FENSUAGRO) who on Friday 8th August 2008 was arrested by Colombian government forces.

Ms Obando has been detained on charges of "rebellion" against the state a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government for long periods without trial. 'Rebellion' also allows the regime to smear those accused of it as being 'terrorists' and helps to delegitimise their work.

The attached statement provides further information on this new act of persecution and intimidation of trade union and human rights activists.

Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC) seeks your urgent solidarity action and asks you to write to the Colombian authorities to protest against this act of persecution; to demand her immediate release from custody, to demand the dropping of all the alleged charges against her and for the government of Colombia to guarantee her safety and well being.

We also ask you to send letters of support to the Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, ( at: and cc your messages to:

In solidarity,



PJFC Request_for_Action_email.pdf

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PJFC Statement on Liliana Obando's arrest.pdf

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Sign-on statement for the release of Liliana Obando

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Submitted by Terry Townsend on Fri, 08/22/2008 - 19:27


Democratic Socialist Perspective

PO Box 515, Broadway, NSW Australia 2007

Phone: +612 9690 1230   Fax: +612 9690 1381

Email:  Web:


August 21, 2008


Senor Presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez

Presidente de la Republica, Palacio de Narino, Carerra 8, No 7-2 Bogota


Fax: +57 1 337 5890 / 342 0592



Dr Francisco Santos Calderon

Vicepresidencia, Carerra 8A, No 7-27 Bogota


Fax: +57 1 565 7682



Dear Srs President and Vice-President,


The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) in Australia is writing to protest in the strongest possible terms the arrest and detention on August 8 of workers’ and human rights advocate Liliany Obando.


The DSP has met with Liliany Obando during two of her visits to Australia on behalf of trade union federations and human rights organisations in Colombia. We have heard detailed reports from her about the situation of Colombia’s people and the peaceful solutions she always advocated.


Liliany Obando is well known in our region of the world for her tireless defence of human rights and we believe that she has been targeted because of her international work with social movements, religious institutions, human rights groups, academics and trade unions on behalf of the people of Colombia.


We reject the all-encompassing charge of “rebellion” that has been laid against Liliany Obando as morally and legally indefensible, and call on the Colombian government to respect her fundamental human right to freedom of expression and freedom of association.


We warn that any attempts to silence Liliany Obando will strengthen the world community’s condemnation of the tragic condition of human rights in Colombia. The world is aware that trade union leaders and other social justice activists in Colombia face persistent harassment, threats, arbitrary arrest and assassination at the hands of the paramilitaries and the state’s security forces: in the past 20 years, more than 3000 Colombian unionists have been assassinated.


We therefore call on the Colombian government to not only release and guarantee the safety of Liliany Obando immediately, but also act to end all repression of trade union and other social justice activists in Colombia.


Yours sincerely,


National Executive

Democratic Socialist Perspective



1. Embassy of Colombia

Fax: + 61 (0)2 6257 1448
Email: and


2. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Parliament House, Canberra