The report, "Colombia in the Shadow of Human Right Abuses," and its accompanying fact sheets paint a different picture from the Canadian government narrative that trade is the best way to improve Colombia’s human rights record. Credible human rights groups, labour unions, NGOs in Colombia and Canada, and the United Nations have compiled compelling documentation demonstrating that human rights violations against trade unionists, human rights defenders, Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities have not abated over the past four years.
The report, published in May 2015, was produced by the Colombia Working Group, a platform developed by three Canadian civil society coalitions, CCIC’s Americas Policy Group, Common Frontiers and the Canadian Labour Congress to “get Colombia back on the map” and raise awareness about Colombia among policymakers, politicians and the general public. The focus of this joint program of action is the continuing human rights violations in Colombia, and Canadian complicity in them” – whether by the Canadian government or corporations.
While many sectors of Colombian society are working to build the foundation for peace through the peace negotiations in Havana, Canada has failed to support human rights and social and economic justice in Colombia. It has chosen instead to focus on private investment in the energy and resource sector while pursuing a deeply flawed Corporate Social Responsibility strategy that allows Canadian corporations to operate in Colombia with impunity. Alarmingly, the government continues to use the Canadian Commercial Corporation to bolster the export of military equipment to Colombia, as part of its economic priorities.
The report is available at pasc.ca/en/CWG .
[Photos: Josh Berson]