Human Rights Violations in Colombia Lead to the Tabling of Two Parliamentary Motions

Human Rights Violations in Colombia Lead to the Tabling of Two Parliamentary Motions

OTTAWA - The implementation of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Deal, approved by Parliament last June, has led to the tabling of two Motions in the House of Commons and at the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) by NDP Critic on International Trade, Peter Julian MP (Burnaby-New Westminster).

The Private Member’s Motions reflect growing concerns over increasing levels of human rights violations which have been taking place in Colombia since the trade agreement was signed by this government in June. The killings of trade unionists and teachers, forced displacements, human rights violations against Afro-Colombians and Colombian First Nations have been ongoing in Colombia, with impunity.

“Many believe Canada made a huge mistake in implementing a free trade agreement with Colombia,” said Peter Julian. “The signing of this trade agreement is considered by the Colombian regime and current President Santos as a blank cheque to further human rights abuses” continued Julian. “This government’s reckless actions, has led us to a situation where, in a sense, Canada is now complicit in these ongoing violations with its rubber stamp approval of the Santos administration – and Canadians don’t approve.”

The Motions tabled will be considered next week if Parliament continues to stand. If the Conservative government falls due to a non-confidence motion, these motions will be re-tabled when Parliament resumes after the election.

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That, in the opinion of the House, the growing human rights abuses in Colombia are troubling, namely (i) the killing of 52 trade unionists in 2010, (ii) the murder of three teachers in 2011, (iii) the magnitude of forced displacements at the hands of paramilitaries, military and secret police, which have risen to worldwide record levels, (iv) the increase in violence and forced displacement against Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations in rural areas, (v) the forced detention of political prisoner Liliany Obando and others, and therefore, the House condemns the Colombian government for not keeping its commitment to guarantee the safety of community leaders, teachers and trade union activist.

Que, de l’avis de la Chambre, la hausse des violations des droits de la personne en Colombie est inquiétante, notamment (i) les 52 syndicalistes tués en 2010, (ii) les trois enseignants assassinés en 2011, (iii) le nombre de déplacements forcés par les forces paramilitaires, militaires et la police secrète ayant battu des records mondiaux, (iv) les populations afro-colombiennes et indigènes des régions rurales ayant subi davantage de violence et de déplacements forcés, (v) la détention de la prisonnière politique Liliany Obando et d’autres personnes et, par conséquent, la Chambre condamne le gouvernement colombien pour ne pas avoir assuré la sécurité des dirigeants communautaires, des enseignants et des syndicalistes comme il l’avait promis.