Three Members of Parliament call for urgent action from Trudeau government on the human rights situation in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe and Alexandre Boulerice.

Radio Canada International (RCI) reports: “Twenty-four Canadian civil organizations, including groups of Colombians in Canada, trade unions, churches, human rights associations and political figures in Canada organized a cross-country Day of Action for Human Rights in Colombia on Tuesday June 22.”

Laura Avalos of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) was the organizer of the event on Parliament Hill. She told RCI: “We organize from Canada, as Canadian citizens, and denounce that Canada is an accomplice of Colombian President Iván Duque.”

Three Members of Parliament were at the protest on Parliament Hill.

In an interview with RCI, MP Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay stated: “We want the Minister for Foreign Affairs to seriously reassess the export licences for military equipment to Colombia. As long as there is reasonable doubt that military equipment exported to Colombia is being used against the civilian population in human rights violations, licences should be suspended.”

MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe noted: “Canada has a certain power because it invests there, because it exports military equipment to it and because there is a free trade agreement that mentions human rights in its text.”

And MP Alexandre Boulerice says: “Canada needs to raise the tone and demand more from the Colombian government. This country could file a complaint about the Colombian situation with the Organization of American States or with the UN. And as a trading partner, it could put conditions on the Free Trade Agreement if human rights are not respected, including imposing trade sanctions.”

Armoured vehicles and free trade

The RCI article also notes: “When asked about allegations regarding the use of Canadian military materiel in repressive acts against civilians in Colombia, Jason Jung told us that at the beginning of the unrest in that country, Canada’s Ministry of Global Affairs contacted the responsible Colombian authorities, who confirmed that Colombian law enforcement ‘is not using Canadian armored vehicles’ to intervene in that context.”

The Global Affairs spokesperson adds: “Canada is monitoring developments in Colombia and will take appropriate action if credible evidence of the inappropriate use of any controlled Canadian product or technology is identified, including to perpetrate or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law.”

Jung also notes that the 2020 annual report on human rights and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement “will be published shortly.”

To read the full Radio Canada International article, click here.

Photo by Laura Avalos.

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