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[Excerpt] The National Labor School (ENS) reports that 38 trade unionists were murdered in Colombia between January 1 and December 1, 2007. While this does reflect a welcome decrease from the number of trade unionists murdered in 2006, the current rate of murders still places the country in a class of its own. Since 1991, 2,283 Colombian trade unionists have been murdered. In the majority of cases where a motive for the murder can be identified, the unionist was murdered because of his or her trade union activity. The ENS also registered 201 death threats against trade unionists in the first eleven months of 2007. These threats, though not as sensational, severely chill trade union activity, particularly because so many of these threats have materialized in the past. The combination of ongoing assassinations, death threats and violence against family members creates a climate of fear for trade unionists that makes it impossible for them to fully and confidently exercise their rights to organize, bargain collectively, go on strike or criticize the government.


Suggested Citation
AFL-CIO. (2008). Workers’ rights, violence and impunity in Colombia [Electronic version]. Washington, DC: Author.
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Copyright by the AFL-CIO. Document posted with special permission by the copyright holder.