Signing Free Trade Pact With Colombia Presents Grave Human Rights Concerns

November 24, 2008

Amnesty International and Canadian Council for International Co-operation are deeply concerned that the free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia has been signed without regard for the widespread and very serious human rights violations that continue to be the daily reality in Colombia.

Most recently, these have included: 

Going ahead with the Canada Colombia free trade deal without meaningful action to address these concerns risks making the human rights situation much worse.

Earlier this year, in a study of the proposed Canada/Colombia trade deal, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade called on the government to ensure that an independent human rights impact assessment be carried out and that the results of that assessment be dealt with before the free trade deal is signed, ratified or implemented. 

Amnesty International and Canadian Council for International Co-operation are gravely concerned that Prime Minister Harper has ignored this recommendation and decided to proceed without due diligence with regard to human rights. It is vital that the Government of Canada proceed no further towards implementation until an independent human rights impact assessment is carried out and the resulting concerns addressed.

Representatives of our organizations are available to offer an assessment of the human rights situation in Colombia, and to highlight our very serious concerns about moving ahead with the free trade agreement at this time.

For more information contact:

Beth Berton-Hunter
Media and External Communications Officer
Amnesty International
International Co-operation
Tel: 416-363-9933 ext. 32
bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca
 
www.amnesty.ca 

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Tel: 613-241-7007 ext. 311
katiag@ccic.ca