Succesful Solidarity work on Colombia
Issued on December 17, 2009 at 05:43 PM
Yessika Hoyos Morales: "Make sure that Europe does not put commercial interests before Human Rights"
Trade union solidarity work on Colombia has had recent success. On the 9th of December Congress along with the TUC in the UK and the European Trade Union Confederation organised a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels. More than 100 people, including several MEPs, from all around Europe attended the hearing and several European speakers mentioned the Congress letter, co-signed by all the Irish MEPs, to the EU-Commission demanding the suspension of the European Union's negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia. Congress was represented by the chairperson of the Irish branch of Justice For Colombia Mick Dowling and the Global Solidarity Officer Stellan Hermansson.
Also, on the 15th of December the Irish Senate adopted a motion tabled by Senator Joe O'Toole and others in support of the Congress position.
Then, on 16th December, Yessika Hoyos Morales, a Colombian Human Rights Lawyer, and the daughter of a murdered trade union leader, met with the Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on Human Rights in the Dail. She made a very passionate presentation on the situation in Colombia, which was followed by an intense debate in the Committee on the need for suspension of the EU-trade negotiations until Colombia shows respect for human and trade union rights. Congress and several Development NGOs also took part in the meeting. The Sub Committee decided to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin to attend an early meeting in January to discuss his reasons for not fully supporting the suspension and Congress leadership will also meet with Minister Martin in January seeking a strengthening of the Government position.
Yessika Hoyos Morales was later that evening the main speaker at a meeting in Liberty Hall.. It was the first co-organised meeting by Congress and Amnesty International Ireland, and Jack O'Connor remarked that "the first step in a more developed cooperation between our organisations in common work for human rights around the world and here in our own country". Colm O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty agreed and is looking forward to working with Congress and Justice For Colombia.
Yessika emphasised the need for continuing active international solidarity; "help us to make sure that Europe does not put commercial interests before the lives of thousands of men and women, and that you will not allow any more young people to suffer the pain of seeing how their mothers and fathers are assassinated, as I had to see".
Read Yessika Hoyos Morales presentation in the Dail - click here
Read David Joyce ICTU presentation in the Dail - click here