IN THE NEWS ~ NDP MP responds to Scott Brison

NDP MP responds to Scott Brison
Peter Julian, National Post

Re: Partners In Human Rights, Scott Brison, Sept 13.

Colombia's present regime is renowned for its corruption, its brutal secret police and its links to military and paramilitary violence. Colombia has the highest rate of killings of trade unionists in the world and the widespread killings include teachers and community leaders. Rampant sexual abuse of women by the government's secret police, military and paramilitary forces has also been reported by human rights organizations.

As active and violent players in Colombia's economy, paramilitary forces, which were supposed to be disbanded in 2006, have been regrouping as narco-paramilitaries. According to a September 2010 report from the think-tank Indepaz, the paramilitaries are an estimated 13,000 members strong and are present in 29 of Colombia's 32 provinces.

In partnership with Michael Ignatieff's Liberals, Stephen Harper's Conservative government has chosen to ignore the pleas of Colombian labour activists, human rights advocates, aboriginal people and African Colombians who are routinely killed for trying to protect their families, land and livelihoods. The Conservatives are also ignoring the fact that every human rights organization in Canada and many internationally have spoken in outright opposition to Canada entering this FTA with Colombia.

It is crystal clear that, under the leadership of Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal party will continue to say one thing to the public and do quite another in Parliament.

Peter Julian, NDP MP for Burnaby- New Westminster, B.C.