Momentum is building fast in Washington to approve the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.
We cannot let this unfair agreement move forward. President Obama must not consider it until there are major improvements in human rights and labor conditions in Colombia.
A fair and humane trade agreement cannot be implemented in an environment in which union leaders are assassinated, the land rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and small-scale farmers are consistently undermined, and millions of people have been violently robbed of their homes.
Colombia is still the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. Colombian labor law doesn’t respect even minimum international labor standards, and the laws that are in place are not effectively enforced. When President Obama spoke during his campaign in 2008, he promised to not support a FTA with Colombia until conditions improved. They haven’t. There were 52 trade unionists killed the year he made his promise and 51 killed in 2010. Now we must hold him to his word.
Colombia now endures the largest displacement crisis in the world, even greater than that of Sudan, with 5.2 million people living in desperate conditions after being violently evicted from their lands. This agreement would encourage more large-scale agricultural, mining and other resource extraction projects that would push many Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities off their ancestral lands and into greater poverty. As for Colombia’s small-scale farmers still living on their lands, experience with similar agreements such as NAFTA has taught us that the unjust agricultural provisions of this trade agreement will make it even harder for these already struggling families to produce enough to survive.
Given the new makeup of Congress, if this agreement is considered, it will be a tough fight to keep it from passing. So we need to stop it in its tracks. And we need to do it now.
Act today and sign this petition to ask President Obama to say no to the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.