Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon said that the government was committed to working with the congressional human rights commission to promote respect for rights and humanitarian law.
Garzon, who met with members of the commission Thursday, said that the body had agreed to contribute to the discussion on the government’s Development Plan and support the initiative to convene the National Human Rights Council in December 2011.
The vice president said that he hoped that Congress would approve the Victims Law, which lays out a process of reparation and assistance available to the more than 4 million Colombians affected by the country’s armed conflict.
“I was very clear in saying that the adoption of this law is a very positive message to Colombian society and the international community, and is a clear statement condemning the violence, the activity of illegal armed groups and of solidarity with victims,” said Garzon.
Garzon said that he felt there was a lot of support for the bill in Congress and that members of the Polo Democratico Party want more dialogue in order to back the new legislation.
The meeting was attended by all members of the commission, including Christian Salazar, representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, and Marcelo Alvarez, the OAS and representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Garzon also met with the committee on wage and labor policy Thursday and asked them to review the operation and existence of work co-operatives, which Garzon believes are the biggest violators of labor laws in Colombia.
“In my opinion, the main violators of labor rights are these cooperatives. It is unfair that workers … are not protected by labor laws but by a trade regime,” Garzon said.