USLEAP Releases Third-Annual Colombian Impunity Report

The Colombian justice system is falling further behind in the fight against impunity for anti-union violence, according to USLEAP’s third-annual report released on December 22 that examines convictions of murderers of trade unionists.

In an analysis of 77 rulings issued in 2009 by Colombian courts, the report found that the Colombian government achieved convictions in cases of 59 murdered trade unionists, of which 41 represented new convictions (18 were for victims for whom some convictions had been achieved in previous years). This means that Colombia is falling further behind in combating impunity; the 41 new convictions in 2009 for murders of trade unionists were outpaced by the 47 trade unionists killed in the same year. Even if there were no more deaths starting today, at its current pace it would take the Colombian justice system 30 years to even partially address the backlog of nearly 3,000 murder cases.

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USLEAP Releases Report on Worker Rights Under New Guatemalan Government

USLEAP released a full report on its conclusions from a fact-finding mission to Guatemala in July. The report details the status of worker rights under the new government of Alvaro Colom. Initial expectations that the change of government would open a new era for the ability of workers to exercise their basic rights are fading fast, seven months after the new administration took office in January 2008, according to Guatemalan labor union leaders.   A notable rise in violence against trade unionists has been accompanied by near total impunity as well as the government’s failure to address wide-spread worker rights violations.   Most concerning for U.S. policy makers and worker rights supporters, according to the report, the mission found strong evidence that U.S. policy and leverage for supporting worker rights in Guatemala has weakened significantly with the passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

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