Canada hasn't yet fulfilled its promise to assess human rights impact of free trade agreement with Colombia
Does your MP know about this?
Call on your MP to ensure Parliament speaks up for the protection of threatened Indigenous Peoples in Colombia
|"We want to live in peace on our lands"|
When a wealthy country like Canada enters into a trade agreement with a country in the midst of a violent decades long armed conflict, you would expect there to be some human rights safeguards in place.
But the Canadian government has ignored its commitments.
Last week's May 15 deadline for a human rights impact assessment of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has come and gone with no report, again.
Indigenous Peoples in Colombia continue to be subject to what has been called "extermination", and today as I write to you, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Colombia seeking to expand trade.
Please remind your MP of Canada's obligation before Parliament to submit a human rights impact assessment.
Send an email today.
(Include your postal code when signing the action form and your message will automatically be directed to your MP.)
In 2009, Colombia’s highest court ruled that one third of Indigenous peoples in the South American country were “threatened with physical or cultural extermination” amidst armed conflict and forced displacement, often from land coveted by others for its location or natural resources.
The court gave the government of Colombia six months to develop and implement measures to protect the rights and survival of these Indigenous nations. Four years later, little effective progress has been made.
In the past year, the crisis has only sharpened. More Indigenous leaders were killed amidst efforts to defend the land of their people and their right to determine how it is used. Vulnerable Indigenous communities were bombed by the army, while others suffered violent incursions by guerrilla forces and by paramilitaries. Less than two weeks ago, the home of a Wiwa Indigenous leader was attacked with grenades.
Indigenous organizations reported that armed conflict and grave abuses took place precisely in territory that third parties want to exploit for its natural resources.
Now more than ever, it is vitally important that our government use its special relationship with Colombia to speak up for effective protection of the rights and survival of Indigenous peoples. When Canada entered into the free trade agreement with Colombia in 2011, the legislation passed by Parliament required this annual human rights impact assessment. To date such an assessment has yet to take place. Since then Canada increased its cooperation with Colombia’s military and changed export rules to allow for arms sales to the Colombian army.
Please send an email message informing - or reminding - your representative of our obligations to protect human rights.
Click here to take part in this important action.
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
P.S. You can find this important and timely action on our new webpage "Make it Visible". Please visit to learn more about how vital it is for Canadians to speak up about this issue.