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End the killings. End the Impunity.

Issued on December 13, 2010 at 02:28 PM

Colombia dec. 14 - Tarsicio Mora, General Secretary of CUT Colombia
Tarsicio Mora, General Secretary of CUT Colombia

Clear message from the Colombian Trade Union leader Tarsicio Mora.

- The new President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos said at his inauguration last spring that "respect for life is a sacred principle". But since then trade unionists and human right defenders continue to be killed and impunity still reigns.

The General Secretary of the Colombian Trade Union Congress (CUT), Tarsicio Mora gave a very clear report on the situation in his country when he visited Dublin on the 9th of December. He emphasised again the unified position of the Colombian Trade Union movement against the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

- A Free Trade Agreement would be rewarding a government that is responsible for the abuse of human rights. The European Union with its strong belief in democracy and human rights should only accept such an agreement after the Colombian government has proved that basic human rights are respected in the country.

Tarsicio Mora came to Dublin along with three other important Colombian human right defenders; Congressman Hernando Hernandez, representative of indigenous people in the Colombian Parliament, Lina Malagon of the Commission of Jurists, and a specialist in compliance with UN and ILO standards and Reinaldo Villalba, a leading human rights lawyer from the Jose Alvear Restrepo Collective.

The Colombian delegation met first with Congress General Secretary David Begg and President Jack O'Connor to discuss the situation in Colombia and Ireland. Jack O'Connor then led the delegation to a hearing with the Oireachtas Joint Committee of European Affairs, a meeting with the Minister For For Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin and a meeting with the leader of the Labour Party Eamon Gilmore. At all these meetings the Colombian speakers emphasised the importance of blocking the proposed EU/Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

The intensive day ended with a public meeting in Liberty Hall organised by ICTU and the trade union network Justice For Colombia. More than 70 people attended the meeting and listened to the four Colombian speakers and a short report by Jack O'Connor from his visit to Colombia last July. Several participants posed questions and concrete proposals for intensified solidarity work were made.

The Colombians said before leaving Dublin, that they loved the warm friendly atmosphere and empathy at the public meeting. "This spirit of solidarity gives us a lot of energy for our struggle in Colombia", said Lina Malagon.