1) Treatment of Mormons; 2) Information on the Ejército de Liberación Nacional; 3) Information on Trade Unions 4) Update on Country Profile regarding Human Rights and Religious Freedom [COL3217]

1) Information on the situation of Mormons in Colombia could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.

2) The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army - ELN) is a guerrilla group operating in Colombia. For general information on the group, please refer to the attached copy of Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, (London: Longman Publishing Group, 1988), page 62. Also attached, please see page 4 of the July 1989 issue and page 5 of the August 1989 issue of Andean Newsletter,(Lima, Andean Commission of Jurists).

The ELN has reportedly fought continuously since its creation in the early 1960s "consistently refusing to accept a political solution", [ The Killings in Colombia, (Washington: Americas Watch, April 1989), p. 29.] and grew both in size, resources and power from the early-1980s to at least 1988, being able to increase its attacks on oil pipelines and towns, as well as extorting oil companies and landowners. [ Latin American Weekly Report, 28 July 1988, p. 8.] Revolutionary and Dissident Movements mentions a number of departments (equivalent of provinces) where the group has been active, although it currently operates mostly in the oil-rich areas of the Northeast. [ The Killings in Colombia, p. 29.]

Among its guerrilla actions, the ELN has reportedly resorted to the killing of civilian authorities, suspected informers, business leaders and bosses, as well as kidnapping, murder and attacks on foreign oil-company employees, in at least one occasion including their family members. [ Ibid, pp. 29, 32-33.] The ELN has also repeatedly attacked petroleum installations, including oil-wells and pipelines. The book The Killings in Colombia (pages 31-33), reports the following examples of ELN actions:
-28 September 1988, a Texas Petroleum Co. executive and his wife escaped from a car-bomb attack. Around that date, an American employee of the same company and an Italian worker of American Pipe are kidnapped, the latter's charred body being found in the trunk of a car abandoned in a highway.
-17 October 1988, a bridge is blown up while a bus carrying passengers passed over it, killing four civilians including an Australian tourist and a child.

In August 1989, the Colombian army launched a major offensive against the ELN in Arauquito and other areas called "Operation Jupiter". The offensive was criticized with accusations of abuses against the civilian population, including the bombing of villages. [ Andean Newsletter, August 1989, p. 3.] For details of these accusations, please refer to the first paragraphs of page 4 of the August 1989 Andean Newsletter (attached).

In mid-November 1989 the army announced the capture of 28 alleged members of the ELN, claiming they carried out terrorist acts together with drug traffickers. [ The Globe and Mail, 16 September 1989, p. A11.] Although the ELN has been a member of the Coordinadora Nacional Guerrillera Simón Bolivar (Simon Bolivar National Guerrilla Coordinating Body), [ Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, p. 61.] the M-19 was the only guerrilla group that signed a peace agreement with the Colombian government on 2 November 1989. [ The Globe and Mail, 3 November 1989, p. A8.]

3) For general information on the situation of labour unions in Colombia, please consult at your regional documentation centre the following sources: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1989), chapter on Colombia, section 6 on Labour Rights; Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, (Washington: Human Rights Watch, July 1989), chapter on Colombia; Europa Year Book 1989, (London: Europa Publications, 1989), chapter on Colombia, section on Trade Associations.

Other reports indicate the existence of strong union activity and the killing of union activists. The Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (Unitarian Workers' Central - CUT), the largest labour confederation in Colombia and formed in 1986, claims that 270 of its members have been killed since its creation. [ The Killings in Colombia, p. 46.] Some of the members of the CUT and other important unions are also members of the "Frente Popular" (Popular Front) party, which the Army Intelligence claims is a "legal "arm" of the Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL). [ Ibid, p. 47.]

The Association of Colombian Educators (FECODE) reportedly gathered in 1988 to study ways to counter the victimizing of its members, approximately 88 killed and 800 threatened from 1986 to 1988. [ Ibid, p. 69.] The Antioquia Teachers Association (ADIDA) has reported the murder of at least 30 of its members since late 1987. [ Ibid.] Please refer to the next question for more information on the subject. The most recent report currently available to the IRBDC states that the CUT condemned in late-November 1989 an agreement between employers and the government on projected reforms to the labour code, on whose discussion the unions did not participate. [ Latin American Weekly Report, 7 December 1989, p. 12.] The changes agreed to included extension of trial periods in which employees could be laid off without compensation and modification of pay procedures.

4) An update of the IRBDC Country Profile on Colombia has not been distributed to the public yet. However, please find attached a copy of a draft of an update to the Profile's chronology, covering the period from late-December 1988 to July 1989. For more recent events, particularly those stemming from the "war" declared by the Medellín cartel of drug traffickers against the government, please consult Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, chapter on Colombia, and its corresponding Critique, as well as the articles in the magazines and country files, all of them available at your regional Documentation Centre. Country Reports for 1988 contains a section on Freedom of Religion. Also, please find attached copies of the following documents which focus on the latest events concerning human rights and union activity:
-Andean Newsletter: July 1989, p. 4; August 1989, pp. 4-5; September 1989, p. 4;
-Latin American Weekly Report: 26 October 1989, pp. 4-5; 16 November 1989, p. 4; 23 November 1989, pp. 10-11;
-Latin American Regional Reports - Andean Group: "Colombia's extreme right forms party", 31 August 1989, pp. 4-5; 9 November 1989, pp. 2-3.
-Section on Freedom of Expression and Association from The Killings in Colombia, pages 80-84.
(COM) Comoros / Comores