The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

Trade Agreement EU-Colombia, Perú, Ecuador: minimal positive impact on Human and Labour Rights, Peace and Environment in Colombia

Report elaborated by Oidhaco in collaboration with Catapa for the evaluation by the EU Commission of the Trade Agreement.

Concerns have been raised by civil society organisations about the negotiation process for the Trade Agreement between the European Union, Colombia and Peru and its approval in the European Council and European Parliament. These organisations questioned the idea of signing a Trade Agreement with two countries with a history of human rights violations. In Colombia, the extent of the extrajudicial killing of civilians committed by the armed forces was just coming to light. Most of these killings were committed between 2002 and 2008, encouraged by State policies, leaving between 2,000 and 10,000 civilians dead. Moreover, it had only recently come to light that the state intelligence services (DAS) had been spying for years on human rights defenders, journalists, high court magistrates, members of the Colombian Congress, trade unionists and that, in some cases, the information obtained was used to commit assassinations of these people in coordination with paramilitary groups. There had also been reports of high murder rates against trade unionists: from 1973 to 2013, 3,095 trade unionists had been murdered in Colombia  and thousands had suffered other attacks, such as threats, enforced disappearance, etc. In the first decade of the 2000s, 5,664,952 victims of the armed conflict were registered, more than half of the total victims (1981-2020), according to the Single Registry of Victims (Registro Único de Víctimas). Most of these are people who have been forcibly displaced. This is in the context in which the Trade Agreement with Colombia was negotiated.