Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Colombia: lobbying continues against the proposed FTA

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The TUC has written to Baroness Ashton, the EU’s new High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, calling on her to abandon talks on a free trade agreement with Colombia on the grounds of the country’s appalling human rights record, not least with regard to the continued killings of trade unionists.

A free trade agreement with the EU would be a propaganda coup for the Colombian government and would essentially reward it in the trade and international arenas, while acting as an endorsement of its continued inaction on its human rights record. Colombian civil society and trade union organisations have called for a rejection of any attempt to reach such an agreement; the US government has rejected doing so and the EU should suspend its own negotiations. Worryingly, as the TUC’s toughly-worded letter points out, the promised engagement with the Colombian government on its domestic record via the existing Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) procedures appears not to have happened.

Connect is continuing its own lobbying activities, in line with its support for the Justice for Colombia campaign on the proposed agreement and in support of a special meeting on the issue taking place at the European Parliament on 9 December.

The TUC was also a signatory to the letter to the Editor of The Guardian last week which called for tougher actions against June’s coup in Honduras and asking governments not to recognise the fake elections which took place the previous Sunday.

As tough as conditions are at home for trade unionists, they are never as worse as they are for trade unionists in Latin America. Internationalism has the power both to bring greater unity to trade unions worldwide and also increases the number of reasons to belong to a trade union: solidarity needs to be more than just a watchword.

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Written by Calvin

01/12/2009 at 1:00 am

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