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Human rights issues could thwart Colombia-EU FTA: France

Colombia Reports

Human rights issues could thwart Colombia-EU FTA: France

9 November 2009

By Ashley Hamer

Human rights issues could thwart commercial agreements between Colombia and the EU, said the deputy leader of the French National Assembly on Monday.

The deputy Alain Marty, who chairs the friendship group France - Colombia, spent the last few days visiting the South American country to meet with politicians and collect information with regard to a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia.

Relations between France and Colombia were complicated up until the release of Franco-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, exchange between the two countries is now much easier, Marty was reported saying by newspaper El Tiempo.

With regard to the FTA, Marty emphasized that there were still some difficulties, primarily in the realms of human rights in Colombia, which for the EU is a very important aspect when considering a trade agreement with the country.

The deputy went as far as to suggest that a disagreement between the two national governments over human rights could completely derail any commerical deals.

According to Marty, France sees Colombia as continuously struggling with issues of displacement and national security and he highlighted that in Europe there is a lack of evidence that Colombian authorities are making an effort to resolve these issues. There are also NGO’s in Europe who continue to reveal discouraging information about Colombia.

Marty concluded by saying that he suspected Colombia, like innumberable other countries, has many promblems that it has yet to confront and that it needed to do so in order to be able to move forward successfully.