OTTAWA- The Standing Committee on International Trade has agreed to a New Democrat motion to study the sorely-lacking Human Rights Impact Assessment on the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Colombia. This report contains no information on human rights, contrary to stipulations in the legislation.
“The report is essentially empty,” said NDP International Trade Critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). “There are no baseline measurements, no studies and no evidence at all that the Conservative government did anything to assess the impact of the trade agreement on human rights in Colombia.”
The report, tabled in the House of Commons on May 15, did not answer any questions about the effect of the trade agreement on the human rights situation in Colombia, as the legislation requires.
“Colombia has a history of human rights problems and this annual impact assessment was supposed to be key in ensuring that things were getting better,” said Davies. “The law requires a substantial report and we are going to find out why that wasn’t done.”
The hearings will take place on June 7 and June 12. In addition to holding government officials to account, New Democrats will also ask to hear from civil society organizations in Canada and in Colombia as well as international human rights experts.