Trade unionists in Colombia continue to face intense harassment, despite government efforts to increase protection. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) published a report yesterday, citing Colombia as the world’s most dangerous place for trade unionists. The death toll in 2008 rose to 49 union-related deaths, up from 39 in 2007.
At a meeting in Canada on Wednesday, President Álvaro Uribe said that the Colombian government is "working every day to overcome impunity,” and highlighted a government program that spends $40 million per year to protect 10,000 individuals. Vice-Minister for Labor Relations Ana Lucia Noguera pointed out that union member killings had fallen 81 percent in the last seven years. Only 4 percent of Colombian workers are members of a trade union.