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July 22th, 2011

 

Congressman George Miller

1333 Willow Pass Road, Ste. 203

Concord, CA 94520

7th District of California

2205 Rayburn HOB 2205

Dear Honorable Miller:

 

I would like to thank you for your prompt response regarding the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Firstly, I must recognize the righteousness of your and some of your fellow legislators’ position on the agreement. This position was probably issued before the recent decisions of the Colombian government to put into effect a change that greatly improves the human rights of workers, farmers, and unionists in Colombia.

 

As a result of these changes, two pieces of legislation, El Proyecto de Ley de Victimas (Victims Act) of June 2011 and the Act 1444 of May 4, 2011, have been introduced to raise the bar to a new era of justice and peace in Colombia.

 

The following is a Congressional Report testimony on the progress of protecting workers that the Colombian government has made thus far:

 

Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues

Congresional Report, November 24, 2008

Mary Jane Bolle

Specialist in International Trade and Finance

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

 

“If Congress were to approve the Colombia FTA, it would be the second FTA (after Peru) to have some labor enforcement “teeth.” Labor provisions including the four basic ILO core labor standards would be enforceable through the same dispute settlement procedures as for all other provisions (i.e., primarily those for commercial interests.) Proponents point to recent Colombian progress in protecting workers on many fronts. They argue that approval of the FTA and the economic growth in Colombia that would result is the best way to protect Colombia’s trade unionists. They also argue that not passing the agreement would not resolve Colombia’s labor issues”.

 

The Colombian Act 1444 is an important step in recognizing and defending workers’ rights and human rights in Colombia. The Summary of the Act is enclosed for your information.

 



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