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NGOs call for human rights protection in Colombia-EU FTA

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Colombia Reports | Monday, 15 March 2010

NGOs call for human rights protection in Colombia-EU FTA

Camilla Pease-Watkin

Several South American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have called on the European Union to put better human rights provisions into its free trade agreement with Colombia, reported El Espectador.

After reviewing the terms of the agreement, representatives of the NGOs, which include the Latin American Association of Organizations for the Promotion of Development (ALOP) and the International Office for Human Rights Action in Colombian (OIDHACO), criticized it for "not taking into account the dire human rights crisis faced by the [Andean] countries, especially Colombia."

The NGOs called for the EU Trade Commission to revise the terms of the FTA, saying that as it stands the agreement is "less demanding and offers less protection of human rights" than previous agreements with Latin American countries.

ALOP’s representative in Brussels, Camilo Tovar, stated that if the FTA is approved with its current conditions it will be "sending a message to the world that the human rights violations that exist in Colombia enter the realm of the acceptable for the Union’s 27 nations."

Colombia’s FTA with the European Union was approved on March 1 and will on Tuesday be read before the International Trade Commission by EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht.

NGOs have appealed to the Trade Commission authorities to use this opportunity to make amendments to the current free trade agreement.

 source: Colombia Reports