Stop backroom deal on the free trade agreement with Colombia!

TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - A late night Liberal-Conservative deal concocted to try to force the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement through parliament is an insult to Canadian and Colombian civil society.

It is in fact a dangerous amendment which allows the Canadian and Colombian governments to write their own annual human rights reports - instead of independent human rights reports.

"We have heard from health care workers, indigenous groups and other unions in Colombia and last year we visited Colombia and saw with our own eyes what atrocities the Colombian regime allows to occur on a daily basis," says OPSEU President, Smokey Thomas. "How can we trust what's been called an illegitimate regime to write its own human rights report?"

"How many more trade unionists will be killed this year while Harper and the Liberals try to push through an agreement which has no support from the people in both countries?"

The credibility of any human rights impact assessment is its independence. Clearly, this new amendment is nowhere near what the United Nations and other credible human rights organizations have continually called for internationally.

Belgium rejected a new treaty today and the Unites States has stalled an agreement because of the concern regarding human rights violations. On behalf of 130,000 members in this province, and alongside our national union, NUPGE, we call on all parties to oppose this amendment and stop the deal.


For further information: For further information: call Jen Giroux, Executive Board member and leader of OPSEU delegation to Colombia in August, 2010 - 1-800-268-7376 or Brenda Wall, Campaigns Officer, OPSEU - (416) 443-8888

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