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19 Senators Press Administration on Colombia Labor Rights
On December 8, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent to the Obama Administration a letter with 18 other U.S. Senators asking for regular reports on the Colombian government’s progress in addressing violence, impunity and worker rights violations. The letter is pressing for “meaningful progress” on worker rights as outlined in the Labor Action Plan signed last April and used by the Administration to secure congressional passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement on October 12, 2011.
The letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis cites in particular the Plan’s commitment “to protect internationally recognized labor rights, prevent violence against labor leaders, and prosecute perpetrators of such violence.” In a separate letter to USTR, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who voted for the agreement, also called for “meaningful and substantive” actions.
The Senate initiatives follow last month’s formation in the House of Representatives a Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights in Colombia.
On December 7, the Washington Office on Latin America sent a detailed letter to the Monitoring Group summarizing a half-dozen examples of labor rights violations perpetrated since passage of the Colombia FTA.
Check out our collaborative labor rights blog, Labor is Not a Commodity!