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Colombia: Trade Unions

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Colombia on the treatment of trade unionists. (227645)

We regularly raise the dangers faced by trade unionists with the Colombian Government. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the issue with the Colombian Foreign Minister when they met in London on 9 October, commenting publicly after the meeting:

“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.”

We are matching this advocacy with practical support. We invited a delegation of Colombian trade unionists to the UK in March 2008. Following that visit, we sent a tripartite delegation from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to Colombia in late September 2008, to explore how the UK can support and promote labour relations in Colombia. We await their report and recommendations.