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Colombia FTA vote a blow to human rights campaigners


13 Jun 2012


Global Europe

Denouncing what he called "a soft language compromise resolution" on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia that was voted through by MEPs today, GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz vowed to continue working for concrete efforts to tackle human rights abuses in Latin America.

"Our group, together with trade unions and human rights organisations across the world will continue the campaign against this FTA. An FTA would reward the government of the country with the world's worst record of killings of trade unionists and indigenous leaders. This would be totally unacceptable."

Today's European Parliament vote - where all amendments from GUE/NGL and the Greens were rejected - is a blow for human rights campaigners. 90% of murders of trade unionists still go unpunished in Colombia - meanwhile, today's resolution praises the Colombian governments' "vast efforts" and fundamental improvements in law enforcement. "It is a sad day for those of us fighting for real standards and concrete measures on this issue. We insist that the killings end and serious progress in human rights legislation and implementation be established as a pre-condition to any request for Parliament's consent to this treaty" Scholz said.

"This agreement does not assure or improve much needed social and environmental protections, and is not about moving to a model of sustainable development and the promotion of labour rights in Colombia" said Spanish MEP Willy Meyer. "On the contrary, it completely ignores the economic and social imbalances between stakeholders and will lead to increased poverty in one of the most unequal countries on the planet".

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group