• The award recognizes her extraordinary courage, strength and dedication to the cause of workers’ rights and justice in Colombia.
The AFL-CIO Union Coalition Presents Award to Yessika Hoyos, Daughter of a Murdered Colombian Trade Unionist
• The young lawyer is part of the Labor Rights Unit at the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective as well as a founding member of the Sons and Daughters Movement, which also receives this award.

Martes 15 de septiembre de 2009, por Prensa - Colectivo

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On September 17, 2009, the AFL – CIO formally presented the 2008 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Yessika Hoyos Morales for her work as a leader and founding member of the Movement, Sons and Daughters for Memory and against Impunity, for her fight to clarify the murder of her father, trade union leader Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco, and for her work as a human rights defender with the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective.

Hear the speech given by Yessika Hoyos at the AFL-CIO 2009 Convention in Pittsburgh on September 17, 2009.
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Hear the testimony provided by Yessika Hoyos at the US congressional hearing on workers’ rights in Colombia on February 12, 2009.
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On September 17, 2009, the US trade union federation AFL – CIO formally presented the 2008 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to the young human rights defender Yessika Hoyos Morales for her work as a leader and founding member of the Movement, Sons and Daughters for Memory and against Impunity, for her fight to clarify the murder of her father, trade union leader Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco, and for her work as a human rights defender with the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective.

The award was presented within the framework of the AFL-CIO’s annual convention, which was held in the city of Pittsburgh from September 12 to 16. On Tuseday September 15, the president of United States, Barack Obama, attended the convention. Yessika was accompanied by her family as well as Reinaldo Villalba Vargas, the president of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective.

Without a doubt, this award recognizes her persistent work and committment to the cause of human rights in Colombia. Nonetheless, it principally serves as a homage and recognition of her father, the trade unionist Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco, and the work he carried out in Colombia as well as internationally.

Trade union leader Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco was a member of the International Federation of the Workers of Plantations, Agriculture and Related Sectors (FITPAS), the world-wide trade union federation that later became the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF).

Later, from 1984 to 1991, Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco was the Latin America education director for the International Miners’ Federation, which predated the present ICEM (International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions). Maintaining his position of leadership in the Colombia labor movement, he also worked as an advisor and organizer for the Colombian Federation of Educators (FECODE); the National Trade Union of Coal Industry Workers (SINTRACARBON); the National Union of Bank Employees (UNEB); the National Trade Union of TELECOM Workers (SITTELECOM). Furthermore, he also provided support and training in labor conflicts and collective bargaining negotiations for many other trade unions.

He carried out this work until March 3, 2001, when two paramilitary hit men repeatedly shot trade union leader Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco as he left his residence.

Ever since the night of the crime and with the purpose of distorting the truth and manipulating the investigation, officials from the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office focused the investigation on the hypothesis that the murder of the trade union leader was a crime of passion. In honor of the truth and memory of Jorge Darío Hoyos, his daughter, Yessika Hoyos Morales, who at the time was 17 years old, initiated the battle to clarify the incidents so her father’s murder would not remain unpunished.

Later, she became a lawyer and joined the Colombian human rights organization, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, which has represented her and her family in the case of her father’s murder. At the Lawyers’ Collective, Ms. Hoyos has worked very closely with the Labor Rights Unit, a project oriented to fighting against the impunity of trade union cases litigated by the Lawyers’ Collective and the International Centre for Trade Union Righrs – ICTUR. One example of their success has been demonstrating and legally proving, within the criminal investigation, that the motive for the murder of trade unionist Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco was due to his labor, social and political activity, as opposed to reasons of passion, as the Colombian government has constantly attempted to have it appear.

Up to now there has only been a partial truth with no justice for this criminal act. For instance, even if it is certain that the two hit men and a noncommissioned police officer were convicted as the direct perpetrators, the police officer, who was convicted in absentia in 2007, appears in the Registry Office as deceased since May 2006. That is, a dead man was convicted to 40 years of prison. Moreover, in this case no one has been brought to trial or convicted as the intellectual authors or instigators of this reprehensible crime, which is why Ms. Hoyos and the Labor Rights Unit at the Lawyers’ Collective / ICTUR will continue to work until the whole truth is known to this case and the other responsible parties for these crimes have been brought to justice.

The 2008 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award does not only recognize the human rights defense work carried out by Ms. Yessika Hoyos Morales, rather it is also a homage to all of the more than 2,700 trade unionists who have been murdered in Colombia. It is another way to recover their lives and remember them.

The AFL-CIO was created in 1955 by merging the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). It is made up of 56 national and international labor unions in Canada and United States, representing more than 10 million workers and is also a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Union Organizations.

Labor Rights Unit
José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective – CCAJAR

Afiliaciones

Afiliado a la Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos
y la Organización Mundial contra la Tortura
Estatus Consultivo en la OEA

José Alvear Restrepo

Nace en Medellín el 1 de julio de 1913 en el seno de una familia de profundas convicciones religiosas y bajo los parámetros de la ideología del partido conservador. Realiza sus estudios en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Antioquia, donde se gradúa de Abogado con una brillante tesis titulada: "Conflictos del trabajo: la huelga"

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