EU urged not to sign FTA with Colombia
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Colombian, American, and European union workers pressed the European Parliament not to sign a free trade agreement with Colombia if human rights don’t improve here.
Union workers spoke at a conference with parliament members this week in Brussels to inform them about the human rights situation in Colombia. They condemned the Uribe government for the deaths of 500 union leaders; most of those crimes have gone unpunished. They went on to declare Colombia the most dangerous country in the world to conduct this kind of trade with.
The representatives cited 60 percent of all union worker deaths as taking place in Colombia. They said this is something that the EU should not ignore while discussing an FTA with Colombia.
The conference in Brussels is the third of of four rounds of discussion between the EU and three Andean countries to determine the terms of an FTA. Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador will have separate agreements with the EU, taking into account the particular interests of each country, but they will all be framed by the same parameters.
The American, European, and Colombian unions spoke at the conference as part of a campaign to raise awareness about human rights in Colombia. They hope to go on to Spain, France, Germany, and the UK to share their information.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who is also considering an FTA with Colombia, has been advised not to sign it over human rights issues as well.