13 September 2010
NUJ and IFJ condemn UK government Visa Decision
The Nation Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland ( NUJ) has joined forces with the International Federation of Journalists to condemn the decision by the UK government to refuse a visa to a leading Colombian journalist whose reports on human rights abuses led to her being kidnapped and receiving death threats in a 10-year campaign of intimidation and harassment.
Claudia Julieta Duque was due to travel to the UK next week as a guest of the National Union of Journalists but the UK government, which has previously praised her work exposing human rights abuses in Colombia, turned down her visa request.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said:
"Claudia is in Europe to receive awards for her brave and courageous work documenting human rights abuses in Colombia. "It is shameful that the UK government is the only one to turn down her visa request for what appear to be political reasons. The decision should be reversed as a matter of urgency".
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said:
"At a time when the international community should be cracking down hard on impunity and the violations of journalists' rights, it is extraordinary that the authorities in Britain are closing the door to one of Colombia's most distinguished reporters who work is an inspiration in the struggle for democracy and human rights."
Claudia Julieta Duque has been a target of state surveillance and harassment since her investigations in to the murder of journalist Jaime Garzon revealed high-level political and security service involvement. Her investigation led to the conviction of one of the heads of Colombia's secret service. She has continued to document human rights abuses. As a result she has been kidnapped, forced in to exile three times and recently uncovered official documents which set out steps of how to threaten and intimidate her. She was made an honorary member of the NUJ earlier this year.