Colombia: Attempted Assassination of Union Leader

Colombia: Attempted Assassination of Union Leader

A leader of Colombia’s national petroleum union barely escaped with his life following an early-morning assassination attempt Monday.

The attack on Jonathan Urbano Higuera, president of the USO local for Puerto Gaitán, in Meta Department, occurred as he traveled in a vehicle assigned by the National Protection Unit, a government entity that assigns protection to endangered social leaders.

The USO reports that two armed men on motorcycles approached the vehicle and fired. Bullets shattered the rear window, and it was the quick thinking of the driver who saved lives and prevented injuries.

Urbano Higuera and four other USO leaders in Puerto Gaitán all have received harassing phone calls and death threats this year—as have fellow leaders from across Colombia, including in Huila, Magdalena Medio, Putumayo, Tolima and the capital, Bogotá.

In a statement, the union is calling on authorities to full investigate this incident and all threats against union leaders, as well as to guarantee that their ability to exercise union rights be protected. The USO is a Solidarity Center partner. In early February, the Colombian Workers Federation denounced acts of intimidation and overt threats—including a flier distributed by the Black Eagles, a far-right paramilitary group—to union leaders, members of the National Strike Committee and other social leaders.

Meanwhile, Colombian teachers are in the streets today in a “Strike for Our Lives,” to denounce the murders of and threats to social justice, rights activists and community leaders.

Within the first 52 days of this year, 51 Colombian social leaders—including union leaders and worker rights advocates—have been murdered.

Disability Rights Progress for Kyrgyzstan Stylists

Disability Rights Progress for Kyrgyzstan Stylists

A salon has opened at the Center for Protection of Labor Rights for Migrant Women—a partner organization with the Solidarity Center that aims to improve access to decent jobs for people with disabilities, promote safety of workplaces, represent the interests of workers in informal employment and protect the rights of Kyrgyz workers, particularly women, who migrate for work—in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where trained stylists will now be able to work. These stylists are women with disabilities who were unable to find work at regular beauty salons and despite specialized education could not secure employment.

The space for the salon is provided to the stylists at no cost. The uniqueness of this beauty salon is that while women receive their services, they can also get free advice on labor rights and legal migration.

“These women filled in documents for official employment with the help of the Center for Protection of Labor Rights of Migrant Women, said Elena Rubtsova, program specialist at the Solidarity Center Bishkek office.

“This is a very big step. Now these specialists will be able to pay into social security programs, and this is a guarantee of their ability to receive their pensions and other social benefits from the state, such as maternity benefits.”

Kyrgyzstan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on February 7, 2019. The primary work needed for CRPD implementation will be to provide people with disabilities with access to physical therapy and rehabilitation services, increasing life expectancy among people with disabilities, providing medical and social assistance, ensuring free movement, facilitating accessible environments and promoting universal design. and expanding access for people with disabilities to education, justice and employment opportunities.

Read in Russian here.

Disability Rights Progress for Kyrgyzstan Stylists

Disability Rights Progress for Kyrgyzstan Stylists

A salon has opened at the Center for Protection of Labor Rights for Migrant Women—a partner organization with the Solidarity Center that aims to improve access to decent jobs for people with disabilities, promote safety of workplaces, represent the interests of workers in informal employment and protect the rights of Kyrgyz workers, particularly women, who migrate for work—in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where trained stylists will now be able to work. These stylists are women with disabilities who were unable to find work at regular beauty salons and despite specialized education could not secure employment.

The space for the salon is provided to the stylists at no cost. The uniqueness of this beauty salon is that while women receive their services, they can also get free advice on labor rights and legal migration.

“These women filled in documents for official employment with the help of the Center for Protection of Labor Rights of Migrant Women, said Elena Rubtsova, program specialist at the Solidarity Center Bishkek office.

“This is a very big step. Now these specialists will be able to pay into social security programs, and this is a guarantee of their ability to receive their pensions and other social benefits from the state, such as maternity benefits.”

Kyrgyzstan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on February 7, 2019. The primary work needed for CRPD implementation will be to provide people with disabilities with access to physical therapy and rehabilitation services, increasing life expectancy among people with disabilities, providing medical and social assistance, ensuring free movement, facilitating accessible environments and promoting universal design. and expanding access for people with disabilities to education, justice and employment opportunities.

Read in Russian here.

Africa Unions Address Gender-Based Violence at Work

Africa Unions Address Gender-Based Violence at Work

Delegates to the International Trade Union Confederation–Africa (ITUC-Africa) last week passed a resolution drafted by women union leaders that will help the organization’s 101 affiliates address gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work, including pressing African governments to ratify International Labor Organization (ILOConvention 190.

Passed in June, Convention 190 is a new global treaty to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work that includes gender-based violence and harassment.

Delegates from more than 47 African countries gathered in the Nigerian capital of Abuja for the 4th Ordinary Congress of the ITUC-Africa’s Regional Organization November 21 and 22. Held every four years, the Congress sets labor’s priorities and direction on behalf of Africa’s working people, both internally and in its dealings with governments and employers.

“The trade union movement in Africa has tremendous power to influence the future not only of the continent but the world,” said AFL-CIO Vice President Tefere Gebre, speaking to delegates.

Some 45 women leaders of unions from across the continent—many of whom have long been engaged in a global campaign to end gender-based violence and harassment at work—presented their recommendations to the full Congress, which the ITUC-Africa leadership formally adopted.

The resolution includes the following recommendations for African unions and ITUC-Africa:

  • Women trade union leaders participate in worker negotiations with employers, so gender-based violence and harassment at work is prioritized
  • Going forward, negotiated agreements with employers include language that explicitly addresses gender-based violence and harassment at work
  • ITUC-Africa provide support for union affiliates that are lobbying their governments to adopt Convention 190.
Africa Unions Address Gender-Based Violence at Work

Africa Unions Address Gender-Based Violence at Work

Delegates to the International Trade Union Confederation–Africa (ITUC-Africa) last week passed a resolution drafted by women union leaders that will help the organization’s 101 affiliates address gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work, including pressing African governments to ratify International Labor Organization (ILOConvention 190.

Passed in June, Convention 190 is a new global treaty to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work that includes gender-based violence and harassment.

Delegates from more than 47 African countries gathered in the Nigerian capital of Abuja for the 4th Ordinary Congress of the ITUC-Africa’s Regional Organization November 21 and 22. Held every four years, the Congress sets labor’s priorities and direction on behalf of Africa’s working people, both internally and in its dealings with governments and employers.

“The trade union movement in Africa has tremendous power to influence the future not only of the continent but the world,” said AFL-CIO Vice President Tefere Gebre, speaking to delegates.

Some 45 women leaders of unions from across the continent—many of whom have long been engaged in a global campaign to end gender-based violence and harassment at work—presented their recommendations to the full Congress, which the ITUC-Africa leadership formally adopted.

The resolution includes the following recommendations for African unions and ITUC-Africa:

  • Women trade union leaders participate in worker negotiations with employers, so gender-based violence and harassment at work is prioritized
  • Going forward, negotiated agreements with employers include language that explicitly addresses gender-based violence and harassment at work
  • ITUC-Africa provide support for union affiliates that are lobbying their governments to adopt Convention 190.

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