Colombia remains the most dangerous place to be a trade unionist in the world, according to the latest survey by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
Figures from the global unions lobby group, which is based in Brussels, show that 145 people were killed last year for taking part in union activities – an increase of 16 on 2003.
There were also 700 more recorded incidents of violent attacks on trade unionists.
South America recorded the highest number of assassinations of trade unionists, while the Asia-Pacific region showed the highest number of union representatives who had been imprisoned.
Across South America, 114 unionists were killed, 456 received threats and 120 suffered torture, beatings or injuries. More than 200 were arrested and nearly 1,000 were arbitrarily dismissed in 2004.
In Colombia, 445 trade union members received death threats and 99 were murdered – nine more than in 2003.
For a first-hand account of unionism in Colombia, go to www.personneltoday.com/26942.article