Assaults on Living Memory Labor Union Threaten Colombia’s Peace

Diego Mejía, a leader of the Memoria Viva (Living Memory) Union, assassinated on April 9, 2023

Diego Mejía, signer of Colombia’s peace accord, and member of the Memoria Viva (Living Memory) union’s national council, was assassinated by two hit men on April 9, 2023, in Puerto Asis, Putumayo, Colombia. On April 13, union member Jhon Jader Ferreyra was wounded in another attack in Ibague in the Department of Tolima. Both these attacks occurred after a March 22, 2023 letter from the union to the Colombian government asking for steps to assure the safety of their members and leaders, and calling for concrete measures to advance the Total Peace Plan. In the five years of its existence, eight of its members have been assassinated. The administration of President Gustavo Petro is to be commended for its bold initiatives to establish a real and durable peace in Colombia. But reaching that goal will take more than dreams and good intentions. Meeting with Memoria Viva to consult about the peace process and listen to their demands is a very good place to start making the Total Peace Plan into a Total Peace Reality.

Send an Email to Colombian Authorities TODAY to back the Memoria Viva union’s demands and their calls for peace

The People’s Human Rights Observatory and the Americas Coordination for the People’s Rights, international coalitions based in Mexico and Argentina, and the US-based Alliance for Global Justice, sent an October 18, 2022 open letter to the Petro Administration and the Comunes Party (for whom Memoria Viva provides protection) in support of the union’s demands. So far, the only responses have been that the problems will be looked into, and that the meetings requested were not possible.  Not only have the meetings not been granted, but false allegations against the union have been made  that put union members in jeopardy of threats, assaults, forced displacement, exile, and even death.

Colombia needs peace, not just peace accords. Political violence still occurs at a rate of more than one victim per day. As security experts, as a labor union and an organization made up of ex-combatants, and as signers of the 2016 peace accord, the leaders and members of Memoria Viva should be listened to and consulted, not ignored and stigmatized by false allegations.

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