Colombia excluded from international labor ‘blacklist’

Colombia is no longer on the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) “blacklist” after the organization published the new list on Thursday, according to Colombia’s Labor Minister.

The list is designed for countries that do not comply with the conventions approved by the ILO, and being on it leads to high levels of scrutiny from the international organization, as well as an obligation to create an individual report addressing the observations made by the organization.

“Colombia is not in the list” revealed Labor Minister Rafael Pardo on Thursday, saying that “there was an important recognition of the progress that Colombia has made with regards to the theme of labor” in the ILO conference, which began on Wednesday and will run to June 20 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pardo said that while the move is a positive one for Colombia, there is now “an obligation to continue the development of themes related with the improvement of labor conditions and union freedom in the country.”

“The government knows that there are great challenges which need to keep on developing such as the fight against impunity and the violence that affects the workers, and they will continue conjointly with social organizations [to achieve this goal]” said Pardo.

This is the first time Colombia has been excluded from the 25 countries on the list since 2009, though not everyone in the international community is in agreement with Colombia’s perceived progress in the labor field.

International labor unions in August 2012 denounced the ILO’s statement that Colombia’s labor rights situation had “improved significantly,” claiming that the government “cut funding for labor and human rights under government protection” and stating that the ILO’s assessment “illustrates an apparent lack of understanding for the reality on the ground.”

MORE: Labor unions dismiss ‘significant improvement’ in Colombia’s labor rights

There has also been controversy in the past week over threats, allegedly delivered by rebel group, the FARC, to Colombia’s labour union, although the rebels deny any involvement.

MORE: FARC threats to labor unions endanger Colombia’s peace talks: Santos




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