MP tables questions on protection of unionists in Colombia

Justice For Colombia News | on: Friday, 19 December 2014

16 December 2014

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Colombian authorities about respect for labour rights in the oil and mining industries in that country; and if he will make a statement.

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)

During his visit to Colombia in February this year, the former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) raised business and human rights in his meetings with President Santos and Foreign Affairs, Finance and Trade Ministers.

In addition, our officials have had several meetings with the Colombian government, civil society and businesses in Colombia to discuss the UK Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in line with our commitment to working for widespread international uptake of the UN Guiding Principles and to developing partnerships with other countries to progress this.

The British Embassy will raise trade union rights and the issue of the rights of contracted labour in the oil and mining sectors, at their next meeting with the Colombian Ministry of the Interior in early 2015.

16 December 2014

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations the Government has made to the Colombian authorities about protection of members of Union Sindical Obrera and its allies in Meta against assassination attempts and other targeted violence.

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)

Our Embassy in Bogota will meet Union Sindical Obrera (USO) on Thursday 18 December. Our Embassy will also raise trade union rights, including this particular case and the issue of rights for contracted labour in the oil and mining sectors, at their next meeting with the Colombian Ministry of the Interior in early 2015.

Business and human rights is a core part of our human rights strategy in Colombia. Our Embassy regularly raises our concerns about the violence and intimidation suffered by human rights defenders, including trade unionists, with the Colombian government.

And previously...

15 December 2014

Baroness Coussins (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conversations they have held with the Colombian authorities regarding the case of human rights defenders and land claimants Yomaira Mendoza and Enrique Cabezas; what information they have received on the progress of the investigation into the attacks against Ms Mendoza and Mr Cabezas, their homes and their families; and what assurances they have received regarding measures for their protection.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative)

Our Ambassador in Bogotá raised the cases of Yomaira Mendoza, Enrique Cabezas and the Curbaradó community with the Minister of the Interior in July. The Ministry provided assurances that as a result of the consultations between the Government of Colombia and the Curbaradó community greater protection measures had been agreed. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials met with Ms Mendoza and Mr Cabezas on 28 October during their recent visit to the UK, to receive a firsthand account of the situation. Investigations into the threats against them are ongoing.



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