Many in the Trade Union Movement in Australia and around the world watch with great concern the case of Liliany Obando, an activist, trade unionist and defender of human rights; especially political prisoners in Colombia.
Like many around the world, we are very concerned about the conviction of Liliany by the Colombian court process largely on evidence that has been found to be corrupt. A serious miscarriage of justice seems to have occurred, that not only effects Liliany but also many other political prisoners who face the same fate.
The Trade Union Movement in Australia and Internationally has long campaigned in support of the right to freedom of association, without fear of imprisonment and other reprisals from the state or others. For a true democracy to exist, the state must, particularly in the enforcement of punitive laws, ensure that the system is unimpeachable.
Further, in a world where, even in advanced democracies like Australia, trade unionists, workers, human rights activists, academics, refugees and others are under attack by conservative and capitalist forces, it is important that those who wish to achieve a more equal, just and peaceful world can advocate for, organise, protest, campaign and ultimately win better conditions without fear of repression.
The ever increasing inequality in the world, between those with wealth and power and those without, can only be addressed with the recogniton, respect for and uncompromising enforcement of fundamental human rights, including the aboliton of unjust laws and excessive power of the state. We should all rally around those that fight for justice, like Liliany in our continued efforts to achieve a more humane and just world.
April 16 2014
The Colombian Supreme Court on April 3 announced its rejection of an appeal by Liliany Obando of a conviction and sentence handed down in 2013. Political prisoner Obando's conviction for "rebellion" stands as does a sentence of five years, eight months of house arrest and a fine of 707 million pesos, ($368,347 USD). Formerly human rights director for Fensuagro, Colombia's largest agricultural workers' union, Obando enjoys wide international support.