Colombia/Peru trade deal - “Listen to the unions, Listen to the families of the victims: Vote No!”
Ahead of today's European Parliament vote on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru, GUE/NGL MEPs set out their opposition to the FTA and will request for it to be sent back to parliament's trade committee.
"All major trade unions in Latin America and Europe, all human rights and environmental organizations, senior Church representatives and many parliamentarians have come out against this FTA" said GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz in last night's debate. "With the roadmap on rights submitted by the Colombian authorities, we have nothing but weak promises. Many brave people have chosen the path of peace and democracy - as trade unionists, environmental campaigners, and human rights activists. Many have lost their lives because of this. Those forces in Colombia and Peru who are committed to democratic change need support from the outside world. If we ratify the agreement now, we will be giving away a powerful lever. Listen to the unions, Listen to the families of the victims: Vote No!" Scholz said.
"The roadmap is being used as a fig leaf to pretend that the issue of human rights is dealt with" said MEP Paul Murphy. "Colombia is the most dangerous place on earth for trade unionists with systematic abuse of human rights defenders, journalists and indigenous communities. Justice is rare for the many victims of human rights abuses, with rates of impunity of over 90%. This could become even worse with the proposed constitutional reform which would expand the military jurisdiction, a reform which President Santos endorsed recently against the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights" he said, urging MEPs "who think workers' and human rights should come before the profits of big business to reject this agreement and support the proposal to return the dossier to the committee level"
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20