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Friends of the Earth Remains Strongly Opposed to U.S.-Colombia Trade Deal
WASHINGTON - April 12 - Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica issued this statement in response to the Obama administration’s endorsement of the “Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights,” an agreement that now clears the way for the U.S.-Colombia trade deal to move to Congress:
“The plan endorsed yesterday by the administration is another example of failed trade policies that have resulted in the loss of millions of U.S. jobs and damaged the environment. President Obama had a chance to usher in a new era of trade policy and he has failed the test. We need fair trade deals that hold foreign companies accountable to our laws and benefit workers, public health and the environment. Unfortunately, President Obama has not only backtracked on his pledge, but has also blown this leadership opportunity.
“Even worse, the Action Plan is a seal of approval for continued violence and human rights abuses in Colombia. The Colombian labor movement, Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities, as well as human rights advocates face extraordinary crime and violence. This agreement fails to end these atrocities and the impunity with which they are committed. Land and access to natural resources are at the heart of this conflict and it is unconscionable that President Obama would proceed with this agreement without addressing the underlying causes of violence and ensuring real change for the Colombian people and environment.
“On these grounds, Friends of the Earth strongly opposes the U.S.-Columbia Free Trade Agreement.”