The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

“Road Map” for the EU – Colombia and Peru FTA, insufficient for the NGOs

The Road Map requested in order to guarantee the protection of labor rights, the environment, and human rights does not respond to the concerns raised by European, Colombian, and Peruvian civil society.

Today, on the 13th of June, it was put forth in the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) the resolution to ask Colombia and Peru to define a “Road Map” to guarantee the protection of labor rights, the environment, and human rights in the ratification process of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union, Colombia, and Peru.

Development – Environment and Human Rights in Colombia

Document redacted on the occasion of the hearing of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament on the EU-Colombia-Peru Multiparty Agreement on 29 February 2012.

The document presents the situation with respect to the following topics: Poverty and inequality, Labour rights and violence against trade unions, Environment, Right to food, Lands, Indigenous, Peoples and Afro-Colombians, General human rights situation

Newsletter 6

Colombia and the EU’s Scheme of Generalized tariff Preferences (SGP+) Opening a European Commission investigation on Colombia may be the adequate pressure mechanism for Colombian authorities to take United Nations and ILO recommendations seriously.

In 2005, the European Union revised its system of customs preferences for the market access of products coming from developing countries.  The new mechanism, known as “SGP+” includes two country categories: the less developed countries, for which the SGP+

Newsletter 9

Human rights in Colombia under the microscope of the United Nations and European Union Both the follow-up to the conclusions of the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia and the dialogue on human rights between the European Union (EU) and Colombia…

Both the follow-up to the conclusions of the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia and the dialogue on human rights between the European Union (EU) and Colombia offer opportunities to influence policy changes in Bogotá in favour of greater respect for human rights.  We hope that the international community and particularly the EU and its member states will not let this opportunity pass by.

Newsletter 10

European Union – Colombia free trade treaty: the EU’s prestige at stake The third round of trade negotiations between the EU and the three Andean countries (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) was held in Brussels from 4 to 8 May.

The third round of trade negotiations between the EU and the three Andean countries (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) was held in Brussels from 4 to 8 May.  These negotiations have, since January 2009, replaced negotiations for an association agreement between the EU and the Andean Community.

Newsletter 14

The flaws within the security policy Ever since he began his time in office in 2002, President Uribe’s policy has been to improve the country’s security and to end the armed conflict militarily.

Ever since he began his time in office in 2002, President Uribe’s policy has been to improve the country’s security and to end the armed conflict militarily. During his two terms, he has promoted controversial measures, several of which were found to be unlawful by the Constitutional Court and many of them criticised by the United Nations. They include initiatives such as the network of civilian informants, which involves the civilian population in the armed conflict, in total disregard of the fact that they are protected persons in line with the principle of distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and exposing these people to possible reprisals. This policy of informants as well as the policy of paying civilians rewards for information and soldiers for the detention or killing of members of illegal groups has been responsible for many acts of injustice, including mass arbitrary detentions and, even more seriously, systematic extrajudicial executions.

Newsletter 13

Genuine agrarian counter-reform in Colombia That is how many analysts describe what has been happening in the Colombian countryside in recent decades. A few official statistics are enough to show the extent of the problem.

That is how many analysts describe what has been happening in the Colombian countryside in recent decades.  A few official statistics are enough to show the extent of the problem.  In 1984, 32.7% of the country’s cultivable area was concentrated in the hands of 0.5% of landowners; in 1996, 0.4% of landowners held 44.6% of this area; and, currently, 0.43% of them own 44.6% of cultivable land.  In contrast, 57.87% of landowners own barely 1.66% of the land.  Over the course of 25 years, the armed conflict has been used to increase the concentration of land ownership, Colombia being the country with the second highest number of displaced people in the world, after Sudan.  The displacement of campesinos, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians has not been simply a by-product of the conflict but rather a specific war aim.  In the banana-growing areas of Antioquian Urabá, armed men offered campesinos 250,000 pesos per hectare of land, when the price was four times this figure; those who would not sell up were threatened, suffered extortion and were frequently murdered.  The paramilitary leader known as ‘HH’ admitted to having murdered almost 1,600 people in the region in just two or three years.  Through massacres committed in full view of the population, thousands of people were displaced, with their lands falling into the hands of the killers, or those who succeeded them.  Raúl Emilio Hazbún Mendoza, another paramilitary leader and owner of a banana company, who controlled the region for over 10 years, has admitted to close and longstanding links with the army and the police, with the large landowners and multinationals which had invested in the area under his control.  Chiquita Brands was fined 25 million dollars in the United States for making payments to the paramilitaries, but its directors have never been brought to justice in Colombia.