Foreign Affairs Committee to consider situation in Colombia with representatives of ICTU

October 21st, 2014 - Pat Breen

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade will meet tomorrow with representatives from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to consider the current situation in Colombia particularly concerns in relation to human rights and specifically reports with regard to the ill-treatment of trade union officials.

Itn follows a meeting with the Colombian Ambassador to Ireland, HE Nestor Osorio, earlier this month which focussed on areas of mutual concern between Ireland and Colombia.

Chairman of the Committee Pat Breen says: “This Committee has a longstanding interest in Colombia and has closely followed its emergence from a brutal 50-year conflict. The Committee had the opportunity to raise a number of matters of mutual interest with the Columbian Ambassador to Ireland. There was a broad welcome for the progress made in the peace process negotiations and the Committee expressed the hope that the talks can come to full fruition.

“In candid exchanges however, Committee Members expressed considerable concern about a number of issues including the treatment of trade unionists; inequalities in society; various activities of the security services; and the displacement of peasant farmers. There is a general acknowledgement that Colombia remains a dangerous place to be a trade unionist and tomorrow’s meeting with ICTU representatives will afford us an opportunity to get a better understanding of the long running awareness campaign on the issue. The Committee will also be keen to assess the ICTU’s assessment of the impending Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the European Union, which includes binding provisions on Human Rights, labour issues and environmental protection.”

The meeting commences tomorrow Wednesday 22 October at 2:30 pm in Committee Room 1, LH 2000. It can be viewed online here:

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.