British NGO teams up with Colombian campaigners to oppose the EU-Colombia free trade agreement.
Justice for Colombia (JFC), a group that campaigns for workers’ rights in the Latin American nation, led a group of left-wing Colombian campaigners to meet European commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and members of the European Parliament in Brussels this week, reports Tribune magazine.
The delegation intended to highlight human rights abuses in Colombia and persuade MEPs to vote against the proposed trade deal.
JFC secretary Liam Craig-Best said that “They’re talking about clauses that the Colombians will have to respect human rights. They seem absolutely unable to give any definition of what the Colombian government have to do in order to trigger some sort of sanction.” JFC further stated that 49 trade unionists were killed in Colombia in 2008, and that most of the killers were not brought to justice.
Colombian Senator Jorge Robledo, who attended the hearing, highlighted the fact that the U.S. and Canada have not yet passed trade agreements with Colombia, and stated that “It would be very grave if the EU absolved Uribe in human rights when neither the US nor Canada absolve him. Does Europe put commerce before human rights?”
Also scheduled to attend were the leader of the Central Unitaria de Trabajdores de Colombia (CUT), and Yessika Hoyos, daughter of a murdered Colombian trade union leader, who is now a prominent human rights activist.