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An appalling total of 144 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers rights in 2006, while more than 800 suffered beatings or torture, according to the Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations released today by the 168-million-member International Trade Union Confederation based in Brussels, Belgium.

The 379-page report details nearly 5,000 arrests and more than 8,000 dismissals of workers due to their trade union activities. There were 484 new cases of trade unionists held in detention by governments that are also documented in the report.

Colombia remained the most perilous place in the world for union activity, with 78 killings, almost all of which were carried out with impunity by paramilitary death squads linked to government officials or acting at the behest of employers.

Of 1,165 murders documented between 1994 and 2006, only 56 perpetrators have been brought to trial, and a total of 14 have been sentenced. 

The full survey report is available at http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?rubrique1&lang=en .