PSAC expresses deep concern at the Colombian government’s militarized response to national strike

Published by Brent Patterson on

PSAC National President Chris Aylward

On May 4, Chris Aylward, the National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the violence being committed against national strike participants in Colombia.

Key excerpts from the letter include:

“On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, we are writing to express deep concern at the militarized response of the Colombian government to the ongoing national strike which began April 28, 2021 and continues today.”

“There are widespread reports of firearms being used against unarmed civilians, and indiscriminate violence against citizens participating in the protests.”

“We are calling on the Canadian Government to condemn this violence, to urge the Colombian Government to release all political prisoners, and to hold accountable the perpetrators of human rights violations.”

“The demonstrations against the tax reform have become a catalyst for the collective expression of citizens’ frustrations and widespread social discontent over the rapid process of mass impoverishment and exclusion of vast sectors of the society.”

The letter concludes with several demands including that the Canadian Government urge the Government of Colombia to:

-immediately halt the human rights violations taking place against civilians engaging in protest, and guarantee the safety of all of those in line with internationally recognized human rights standards

-demilitarize the cities and urban areas

-dismantle the anti-riot police (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios) ESMAD

-refrain from criminalization and stigmatization of peaceful protests.

The full letter can be read here.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada is one of Canada’s largest unions. It represents more than 200,000 workers. Their members work for federal government departments and agencies, Crown Corporations and in other sectors.

In November 2019, the PSAC hosted a meeting with Colombian human rights defenders from the Regional Corporation in Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) and the Luis Carlos Pérez Collective Lawyers Corporation (CCALCP) during a Peace Brigades International organized advocacy tour in Canada.

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