Colombia President Alvaro Uribe said Monday an existing law
already secures the safety of unionists in Colombia. The President is
currently in Washington to meet U.S. President Barack Obama.
According to Uribe, the law authorizes judges to impose more severe sentences on murderers of trade unionists and politicians. It also extends the period of time that a crime remains punishable.
Uribe reiterated the existence of the law in an improvised press conference after meeting with high U.S. officials and only hours before his meeting with Obama.
The murders of trade unionists and the impunity for those who commit the murders is one of the
biggest obstacles that keeps the U.S. from signing a Free Trade
Agreement with Colombia. Numerous Human Rights groups over the past few days called on Obama to pressure Uribe to improve the human rights situation in Colombia.
Obama will meet Uribe for a
one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon, followed by a
meeting where press is allowed. The one-on-one meeting is scheduled to
last half an hour.