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Colombia Free Trade Agreement will not protect workers- Crowe

12 December, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has criticised the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Colombia. The FTA was given the go ahead by the European Parliament yesterday.

In the European Parliament yesterday, MEPs voted 486 to 147 to support the FTA.

Speaking after he raised the issue with the Taoiseach and with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Dáil, Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Firstly I want to commend my party colleague, Martina Anderson MEP, for voting against this FTA, as well as all the other MEPs who voted against it.

“The FTA agreement between the EU and Colombia gives a clear signal that the EU is more concerned with the profits of multi-national companies than with human and worker’s rights.

“This trade agreement, which was ratified by the European Parliament yesterday, was opposed by all major trade unions in Latin America and Europe, nearly all human rights and environmental organizations, and 147 MEPs.

“This is in a week when the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and today the European Parliament will award its annual Freedom of Thought Prize. Yet a majority of MEPs saw no contraction or difficulty in supporting a Free Trade Agreement with a country that has one of the world's worst human rights records.

“We know that Colombia is the most dangerous place on earth to be a trade unionist and an estimated 60% of all trade unionists that are killed every year, are Colombian.

“Documents released from the Justice for Colombia human rights group show that 225 trade unionists were killed in Colombia between January 2007 and June 2012.

“In return for EU support for this FTA the Colombian authorities have offered little or nothing but weak promises on the important issue of human, civil, and worker’s rights.

“Those in Colombia who are committed to democratic and peaceful change, and who stand up for the vulnerable sections of society, need greater support and protection from the international community.

“This FTA rubber stamps the abuses and bad practices of the Colombian authorities and will be seen by many as rewarding and ignoring basic human rights abuses.

“I am disappointed that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil MEPs, as elected Irish representatives in the European Parliament, voted in favour of this trade agreement.”


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