Various points of interest emerged during the discussions around the negotiation and ratification of this Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and after three years of its provisional implementation, it is a good time to revisit these issues.
The current development model in place across Colombia has brought repression and harassment. The government has not fulfilled the terms of a 2013 agreement. On May 27th, the Cumbre Agraria, Campesina, Etnica y Popular1 called for a national Minga - a period of strikes and mobilizations - across Colombia to put pressure on the government.
Although there is talk of peace, there are no safeguards for the activities of the social organisations that are working to defend social rights and to oppose an economic model that is deepening inequality and that violates fundamental rights.
Despite promises made during the negotiation process, the multiparty trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru has not helped to improve the living conditions of the Colombian population. On the contrary, conflicts linked to export sectors and EU investment have continued and, in some cases, worsened.
By ratifying the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, the European Parliament committed itself to give a special follow-up to the “respect of human rights and the environment” by implementing the “road map” agreed upon for these issues.
TNI has long been an advocate for trade and investment policies that prioritise people and the environment over corporate interests. In the case of Colombia, TNI has worked closely with local activists and researchers in analysing and proposing alternatives to free trade agreements that are implemented at the expense of basic human and environmental needs, mainly in relation to the FTA EU-Colombia. In doing so, TNI works on different sectors and communities that are affected by bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Call on your MEP to oppose EU's proposed Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Peru and Central America because they will undermine human rights, increase unemployment and put corporate profits above human needs.
As a result of continuing violence in Colombia and violation of human and labour rights, and the weakening of the Andean Community through individual EU trade agreements rather than bloc-to-bloc relations, the ETUC and TUCA call for legislators to oppose the EU-Colombia/Peru FTA. We reaffirm our joint statement in 2011 calling for a vote against the FTA on these grounds.
The EU's proposed free trade agreement with Colombia will worsen the already serious human rights violations in the country, as its drive to access to cheap raw materials for European corporations means forcing local people off their land.
The neoliberal FTAs pursued by the EU with Colombia and Peru threaten to exacerbate human rights abuses - which include killings of trade unionists, forced expropriations of indigenous people from land, and environmental destruction - for the sake of corporate profit.