Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, today met with the Justice for Colombia group to discuss on going issues in the country and the on-going peace talks.
Deputy Crowe said:
“Today I met a delegation which represented the Justice for Colombia (JFC) groups of Ireland and of Britain.
“We discussed the on-going peace talks, as well as continued human rights abuses and the killing of trade union activists in the country.
“This summer seen strikes by rural farmers and solidarity protests for them across the country, and which lead to 16 protesters and activists being murdered.
“The union activists were protesting over agricultural imports, which have been allowed into Colombia under free trade agreements with the US, the EU, Canada and other nations, which are undercutting their livelihoods.
“The Colombian government continue to try to smear the protesters and union activists with lies about apparent paramilitary connections, which massively endangers them and their families. Colombia remains the world’s most dangerous country to be a trade unionist.
“The protests also led to the arrest and imprisonment of high profile Colombian trade unionist, Huber Ballesteros. His arrest is a clear attempt by Colombian authorities to punish him for his trade union activities.
“He should be released immediately, and increased protection and support for trade union leaders and activists should be implemented without delay in Colombia.
“The Irish government needs to stand up for workers’ rights and human rights in Colombia, and to stand against the EU’s free trade agreement with Colombia, which will ultimately undermine all these rights for the interests of big business.”