Supporting Yessika Hoyos Morales

5:23 pm - December 15th 2009

by Tom Watson MP    

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Yessika Hoyos Morales and Tom Watson MPIt was a very great honour to meet Yessika Hoyos Morales of the Corporacion Colectivo de Abogados for lunch today.

Yessika is a deeply inspiring character and has given me the energy to pressure the government into taking a tougher line with Colombia, particularly within EU negotiations on a possible free trade agreement with the country.

I shall be asking questions of the Foreign Office about the extra-judicial killings of dozens of trades unionists in Colombia, many of which are linked to the Colombian army.

The UN High Commissioner for Human rights, Dr Navi Pillay, said last year that the Colombian army stands accused of a “crime against humanity” due to the “systematic and widespread” nature of the murders.

Other countries have expressed deep concern about the free trade deal. Many think that the deal will legitimise the regime in Colombia. Norwegian Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen has said “We are not satisfied with the way human right and fundamental labour rights are dealt with in this [free trade] agreement”.

Hilary Clinton recently told Congressional leaders that “continued violence and impunity in Colombia directed at labour and other civic leaders makes labor protection impossible to guarantee in Colombia today. Colombia must improve its efforts . The proposed US-Colombia agreement is therefore not currently on the legislative agenda in Washington”

I would like to see a similar unequivocal statement from the Foreign Office.

cross-posted from Tom Watson’s blog.

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About the author
Tom Watson used to be civil service minister in the Cabinet Office. He is MP for West Bromwich East and tweets here
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,South America

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Reader comments

Good group – good post. I helped to set up a legal aid program in Colombia shortly after I left Afghanistan. In both cases the projects were funded by the Norwegian Refugee Council – who consistently do good work on this. We did not fund the CCA, but did support the Colombian Commission of Jurists who do similar stuff.

Colombia is a difficult country for us liberal-lefties because the FARC are such bastards and Uribe is very popular for the hard-line he has taken with them. There is a good social democrat-type party there, though, and I remember being very impressed with the Mayor of Bogota and of a town down in the south (whose name I have forgotten)

2. astateofdenmark

Uribe should declare himself the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution in Columbia, commit various outrages, then accept Ken’s sycophantic offer to be an advisor.

3. Bryan Chalmers

Well done – keep up the good work and I wish you every success
(don’t remember saying that to an MP before).

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