GENEVA (IPS) - Colombia has long been the world leader in murders of trade unionists – a dubious distinction that it seems in no danger of losing, according to a new report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
In 2008, 76 trade unionists were killed worldwide for defending workers' rights, according to this year's Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations, which details abuses of workers rights in 143 countries.
That total is smaller than the figure for 2007, when 91 labour activists were slain around the world.
But in Colombia, 49 were murdered last year, 10 more than in 2007, "despite assurances by the administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe that the situation was improving," says ITUC.
"I submit that there has not been, that there is not and that there never will be real progress in this case unless and until the impunity crisis is directly, authentically and honestly resolved," said Stanley Gacek, representative of the AFL-CIO federation of labour organisations in the United States.
"That means: 1)Effective convictions of all the intellectual, as well as the material, authors of the violence; 2) Achieving the investigative prosecutorial and judicial capacity to do so; and 3) Insuring that the terms of the convictions are significant and durable," said the U.S. union leader.
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