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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Motions\Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru\Motion
Environment\Waste management\regulations
Motions\Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru
Motions\Environment\regulations\Waste management

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Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Columbia and Peru

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Deputy Seán Crowe

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Seán Crowe

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Snippet Contents:

Sinn Féin opposes the timing, the content and the lack of viable human rights safeguards and mechanisms within this agreement. The human rights provisions are not strong enough, and an oversight mechanism will not deliver the necessary safeguards needed in that country.
Anti-trade union violence has directly led to the deaths of almost 3,000 trade union activists over the past 25 years. The murderers have 95% impunity due to the inadequate or complete failure to investigate those deaths. Two hundred trade unionists have been murdered since President Santos came to power; 20 were killed last year, and 26 were murdered in 2013. Colombia continues to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist or a human rights activist. Colombia is a world leader in ignoring regulations regarding human rights that it has signed up to in international agreements.
The new, hardly dry foreign policy document the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade launched last week rightly places human rights at the core of Ireland's foreign policy. Passing this agreement flies directly in the face of that policy provision. Supporters of this agreement point to a human rights provision in the agreement but no impact assessment around the implementation of the agreement on human rights has ever been done. A recent Senate report on the United States free trade agreement with Colombia states clearly that labour rights have actually deteriorated since the passing of that agreement and warns others in trade agreements to carefully consider how human rights can be enhanced and protected. It is clear that the EU has ignored that advice and failed to deliver on sufficient safeguards in this agreement.
For all the talk of human rights provisions being far-reaching, the agreement provides no means of compellability to parties in respect of those rights. We see the same pattern with the EU-Israel FTA which supposedly has human rights provisions and which at the time was also described as far-reaching, yet Israel flattened Gaza last summer and killed over 2,000 people in a couple of weeks, and the EU continues to be its largest trading partner. The Government refuses to back calls to suspend that agreement despite the calls of over 300 organisations, including some of Europe's biggest trade unions, political parties and non-governmental organisations for that agreement to be suspended.
The backdrop to this agreement is happening at a crucial time in the peace process in Colombia. Collectively in this House, we wish all those who are taking part in those discussions all the best in the coming weeks and months.