In the News

Vice President denounces links between business owners and the murders of unionists

El Heraldo

By Jorge Mario Erazo

(Translated from Spanish by ILRF)

“The enemies of trade unionism are many: primarily the paramilitaries, but also the FARC and ELN, are killing union leaders, as well as some business leaders -very few- who don't want unions. As the State, which regulates social relations and protects human rights, we are not going to allow this to continue."

That was the speech that the Vice President Francisco Santos Calderón, made yesterday in Barranquilla during the meeting of the Security Council.

The Court of Last Resort

New York Times

By Arlen Specter

WASHINGTON—The events of 9/11, as well as the war in Iraq, require our government to intensify its efforts to combat terrorism. So it is more important than ever that we do our utmost to show the world that we will enforce human rights laws evenhandedly.

Rights Groups Overseas Fight U.S. Concerns in U.S. Courts

New York Times


LA LOMA, Colombia — In March 2001, during what union members describe as a labor dispute, two union leaders were pulled off a company bus after it left the coal mining compound here and were shot dead by paramilitary gunmen. Six months later another union leader was also assassinated.

For Colombia, such killings are routine; nearly 90 percent of union leaders reported killed worldwide die here. Few of the murders are ever resolved.

Bush to NGOs: Watch Your Mouths

Globe and Mail (Canada)

by Naomi Klein

The Bush administration has found its next target for pre-emptive war, but it's not Iran, Syria or North Korea -- not yet, anyway.

Before launching any new foreign adventures, the Bush gang has some homeland housekeeping to take care of: It is going to sweep up those pesky non-governmental organizations that are helping to turn world opinion against U.S. bombs and brands.

A Needed Human Rights Law

New York Times


In 1996, American lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Swiss banks of withholding the assets of Holocaust victims. Two years later, the suit was settled, and a fund of $1.25 billion was established to pay those with legitimate claims. The suit was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act -- a little-known statute that is a powerful tool for promoting human rights. But now the Justice Department wants to end the law's use in such suits, a reversal that would effectively grant impunity to those who abuse human rights abroad.

U.S. Agency to Be Cited in Suit About Trade and Child Labor

The New York Times

by Elizabeth Becker

WASHINGTON, May 28--An international labor rights group announced today that it planned to sue the United States Customs Service for breaking American trade law and allowing African cocoa picked by indentured child labor to be imported into this country.

Terry Collingsworth, director of the International Labor Rights Fund, said his group had grown impatient with the Customs Service for failing to investigate accusations that cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast used slave or indentured child labor.