Colombia: Letter from the ITUC and the ETUC to the Members of the European Parliament

To Members of the European Parliament,

The Colombian Government has launched an intensive lobbying campaign at the European Parliament in an attempt to mislead the international community, and the European Parliament in particular, on the advances made by the Uribe Administration regarding the situation of human rights in his country so as to promote an early conclusion of the negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

They have now brought to meetings at the European Parliament unrepresentative trade unionists to speak at different Hearings on Colombia about the so called advances made by the Government in the field of human rights and in their fight against impunity and of how the FTA is going to benefit Colombian workers.

We have heard that Mr. Albeiro Franco and Mr. Luis Fernando Cadavid, from the extremely small trade unions UNALTRASAP (agro-industrial and livestock sector) and SINTRACONTEXA (textile and clothing sector) are asking for meetings with MEPs to explain their “vision regarding union rights and human rights in Colombia and on trade agreements”.

Their position is the exact opposite of what Colombian civil society and the ITUC affiliates – CUT, CGT and CTC- are committed to in their permanent efforts to improve the conditions of the people of Colombia, and when they ask the European Parliament to support the interruption of negotiations.

We want you to be aware of these facts and what their strategy is if and when you accept their request for a meeting. The CUT, CGT and CTC who legitimately represent the real aspirations of working people in Colombia are asking Parliament to support the interruption of negotiations at this time.

If the international community does not take proper action now, trade unionists in Colombia will continue to die and those responsible for so much violence will continue to enjoy absolute impunity.

Yours sincerely,

John Monks
General Secretary ETUC

Guy Ryder
General Secretary ITUC

Photo: A Look Askance