The International Confederation of Trade Unionists (CIS) reported 55% of trade unionist murders worldwide occurred in Colombia making it “the world’s most dangerous place for trade unionists,” Caracol Radio reported Tuesday.
According to the report which will be presented by the CIS at the International Labor Conference in Geneva, 49 unionists were murdered in Colombia in 2010.
In addition, the report counted 20 attacks or attempted assassinations of union representatives, in particular against representatives from the mining industry.
Latin America as a whole ranks as the world’s most dangerous region for trade unionists with an especially alarming amount of 100 kidnappings reported the CIS.
The laws set to protect unions and their members from interference and violence are not yielding results, reported the CIS. Impunity enjoyed by masterminds of the persecution lead to more “systematic” persecution, the NGO added.
Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras announced on May 16 that Colombia had complied with the requisite of ensuring safety for union leaders and hoped that the U.S.-Colombian FTA will go through shortly. Colombian labor union leaders fired back rejecting government’s claims that human rights and trade unionist protection have improved, denigrating symbolic gestures aimed at securing the U.S. free trade agreement, which they say will help multinational companies over Colombian workers.