Improving Respect for Labor Rights in Colombia

Filed in International Labor, Workplace Rights by on April 7, 2014 0 Comments

Before sending the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to Congress, President Obama insisted that Colombia take certain concrete steps to address a number of serious labor concerns. The U.S. and Colombian governments agreed to those concrete steps in April 2011 in the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights.

Recently, we have received hundreds of letters from the public expressing concerns about implementation of the action plan and requesting information about how the U.S. government supports the plan’s implementation.

We appreciate these letters. They underscore the importance of ensuring that the underlying goals of the action plan are achieved, including preventing violence against Colombian labor union members and other labor activists, bringing the perpetrators of such violence to justice, and protecting workers’ rights in Colombia.

Today is the third anniversary of the action plan. To mark this day and in response to these letters and so many other similar inquiries and requests, we have taken stock of the progress made toward the plan’s goals. Together with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, we have prepared an assessment of what has been accomplished, as well as the many challenges that remain and ongoing efforts to address them.

Three years after the action plan was announced, we remain fully dedicated to its goals. And we are committed to working tirelessly, with the tools and resources at our disposal, to help improve respect for labor rights in Colombia, for the good of both Colombian workers and workers here at home.

Carol Pier is the deputy undersecretary of the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs.


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