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Colombia Govt. urged to protect trade unionists from killings, "treat workers' rights as human rights" before US enters into free trade agreement (NY Times editorial)

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12 July 2006

A Dangerous Job in Colombia

Author: [editorial] New York Times

We strongly support free trade, but before an agreement can be completed, Americans need reassurance that Mr. Uribe’s government will do more to protect workers’ rights, instead of standing aside as union leaders are systematically killed... In the last 20 years, according to a recent report by the Solidarity Center of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., some 4,000 labor union organizers, leaders and activists have been assassinated...— far more than anywhere else in the world. The government has investigated fewer than 400 cases, and has produced just five convictions... Colombia wants to further cement the special relationship [with the USA] with a free trade agreement. It can begin by treating workers’ rights as human rights.

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Author: El Tiempo [Colombia]

Si Colombia quiere el TLC, “puede empezar tratando los derechos de los trabajadores como derechos humanos”, señala el editorial del principal diario estadounidense...[agrega] que “el número de asesinatos bajó a 70 el año pasado...el Gobierno fijó el número en 40. Esto puede hablar más sobre la intimidación que ha detenido la actividad sindical o que ha hecho esconderse a los líderes, que sobre la acción del Gobierno”. Y agrega que [el gobierno desconoce]...“un claro patrón de amenazas, muertes y desapariciones que tienen como blanco notorio líderes trabajadores, muchos de ellos maestros...”...según la principal central obrera estadounidense, 4.000 sindicalistas han sido asesinados en Colombia en los últimos 20 años, “el Gobierno ha investigado menos de 400 casos y ha producido sólo 5 condenas”.

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