For the first time in 21 years Colombia will not be included in the United Nations’ (U.N.) International Labour Organization’s (ILO) list of 25 nations to be examined for failure to comply with international workers’ conditions.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe announced the ILO’s decision on the presidency’s website on Sunday.
ILO press officer Hans Von Rholand confirmed to Colombia Reports that this year Colombia will not be one of the nations sanctioned by U.N.’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.
Uribe called his nation’s exclusion from the U.N. black list “big news for Colombia.”
The president of the National Association of Industrialists (ANDI) and Colombian delegate to the ILO, Luis Carlos Villegas, said that the decision is indicative of Colombia’s improvements in protecting the safety of trade unionists.
“What the ILO says is that Colombia is improving… I hope other organizations, like the U.S. Democrats, receive this information,” Villegas said.
A U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA), signed in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration, has been put on hold since the Democrats gained a congressional majority in 2007. The Democrats oppose the Colombian trade deal on the grounds of labor and human rights concerns, and because of the danger they think an FTA poses to American jobs.
Every year the ILO chooses 25 countries to examine over failure to comply with international workers’ rights legislation, or because of persecution of businessmen or trade unionists.
Until this year Colombia was the object of permanent observation by the ILO, due to the murder of dozens of trade unionists annually.
Von Rholand said the ILO was unable to comment as to why Colombia had been left off this year’s list.