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Colombia: Human Rights

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Colombia on the incidence of human rights abuses in that country. (228202)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the human rights situation in Colombia with Jaime Bermudez, the Colombian Foreign Minister, on 9 October 2008. Following that meeting, the Foreign Secretary issued the following statement:

“Colombia and the UK are partners of long standing, working to an agenda of tackling the drugs trade, promoting human rights, encouraging trade and investment and working to protect those whose rights have been abused. It is vitally important that the United Kingdom works with the government of Colombia to reduce the flow of cocaine to Europe and the UK, which does so much harm to all the countries and communities involved.

We want to help the Colombian government improve the difficult human rights situation in Colombia, and to promote stability, prosperity, democracy and the rule of law. Those guilty of abuses—whoever they are—must receive justice for their actions. Colombia's people—particularly those most vulnerable: indigenous communities, the displaced, human rights defenders and trade unionists—deserve the full protection of the law, and the support of both the Colombian government and its international partners.”

I also raised human rights issues when I spoke to the Colombian Foreign Minister on 16 October.