July 20th, 2019

NDP Statement on Colombian Independence Day

The NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs, Guy Caron, issue the following statement:

"This July 20th, I join the NDP team in wishing all Canadians of Colombian origin a very happy Colombian Independence Day. I would also like to express our solidarity and support for activists who deplore Canada's failure to meet its commitments to uphold human rights in Colombia through our trade agreements with that country.

When the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2008 and implemented in 2011, the Canadian government committed to an annual human rights assessment of Colombia. Various freedoms, including those of expression and association, were and are still being violated in Colombia, and trade union activists were frequently targeted and even murdered.

But the assessment process followed by the Canadian government, and the reports that are published annually, are inadequate and have been criticized by human rights organizations. In fact, Amnesty International Canada withdrew from this evaluation process in 2017.

We call on the Canadian government to stop pretending to be concerned about the human rights situation in Colombia – and instead, take concrete steps to develop a more robust evaluation system and put pressure on the Colombian government when human rights are violated.

Canada must also make sure that Canadian firms doing business in Colombia are accountable and are acting in full respect of human and workers' rights."