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Human Rights Watch Confirms Colombia Not Ready for Trade Deal with U.S.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:09 PM
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Human Rights Watch Confirms Colombia Not Ready for Trade Deal with U.S.
Human Rights Watch Confirms Colombia Not Ready for Trade Deal with U.S.
by James Parks, Dec 5, 2008

Despite the Bush administrations repeated attempts to push through Congress a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) this year, the reality is that Colombia has not stemmed the violence against trade unionists or brought those responsible to justice.

In short, Colombia has a long way to go before a free trade pact should be considered.

The head of Human Rights Watch recently wrote three top House leaders urging them to remain steadfast in insisting that Colombia clean up its act before approving any new trade deal. In the letter, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth says:
Free trade should be premised on fundamental respect for human rights, especially the rights of the workers producing the goods to be traded. In Colombia, workers cannot exercise their rights without fear of being threatened or killed.

Without concrete and sustained results in addressing this basic problem, ongoing anti-union violence and impunity would, as President-elect Barack Obama has noted, make a mockery of labor protections in the agreement. We believe that Colombia should be in compliance with such protections before the accord takes effect, as has generally been demanded with FTA commercial provisions.
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