Monday, June 22, 2009

Picket June 27 at MP Mario Silva's Toronto Office

For those of you in the Toronto area -- message I received from the Facebook group Stop the Canada-Colombia Trade Agreement:
On Saturday, June 27th, the Colombian Action Solidarity Alliance, CASA, will be picketing outside the Toronto office of Liberal MP Mario Silva and providing information to local residents. CASA is asking Mr. Silva and the Federal Liberal Party to oppose Bill C-23 and demand that an independent comprehensive Human Rights Impact Assessment, HRIA, be performed and any concerns arising from such an assessment be satisfactorily addressed, before any further consideration of an FTA between Canada and Colombia occurs.

Location: Mario Silva’s Office - 1674 St Clair Ave W, Toronto
Time: Saturday, June 27th, 11:00 a.m.

Implementation of the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, FTA, has been stalled but not defeated. Both the NDP and Bloc Parties have officially opposed the FTA while the Liberal Party appears to be undecided at this point. Key Liberal Party members such as Party Leader Michael Ignatieff and Trade Critic Scott Brison have rejected calls to oppose the FTA, while other Liberal Party members, largely due to public pressure expressed through extensive letter writing campaigns, have supported the call for an independent Human Rights Impact Assessment prior to implementation of the FTA.

Human rights violations continue to be rampant in Colombia. Almost 500 workers have been murdered since President Uribe came to power in 2002. The situation is not improving. In 2008, extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, disappearances and killings of trade unionists all increased over 2007. The Colombian state has been shown to be closely tied with these violations. The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reported in November 2008 that Colombia’s security forces are engaged in “widespread and systematic” killings of civilians that could constitute crimes against humanity. There is growing evidence of ties between paramilitary groups and the Colombian government – 20% of Congress is currently under investigation for collaboration with paramilitaries. Implementing an FTA under these conditions will only serve to provide legitimacy to the current regime of human rights violations and actually serve to worsen the situation.

For further information on Colombia and the FTA please see;

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