ITUC Slams Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 19 November 2007

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has accused the Colombian Government of "implementing a policy to destroy the trade union movement" and says that "instead of using its resources to tackle the real problem, the Uribe government is spending millions of dollars on a massive public relations campaign, sending top officials abroad to tell the world that the situation is Colombia is improving. They are lying."

The ITUC, which represents 168 million workers in 153 countries, makes the charges in a letter sent to President Uribe of Colombia last week and in their new 'Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights'. The Survey also documents how there has been an increase in the assassinations of trade unionists.

The Survey, which can be seen in full at, also reports on the involvement of Government forces in some of the killings. In particular the role of the DAS secret police is highlighted according to the Survey the DAS passed on the names of 23 trade union leaders to a paramilitary death squad. Most of the 23 were subsequently either assassinated or forced into hiding following death threats.

A letter from ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder to President Uribe on November 13th also accuses the Colombian president of deceitfulness when boasting of improvements in the situation of trade unionists in Colombia. Ryder points out that of 560 trade unionists murdered since Uribe came to power "only a tiny fraction have been cleared up, and even fewer of the perpetrators have been brought to justice."

A press release pertaining to the letter can be seen at

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