Motion no: 41


Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. Research carried out by Amnesty International indicates co-coordinated strategies exist between the Colombian State military and paramilitary death squads to make the work of trade unionists impossible through assassination and intimidation. Over 2,500 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia in the last 15 years whilst trying to defend the right to collective bargaining and freedom of speech. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) states that the conviction rate for the murders of trade union members in Colombia is 1%. It is said in Colombia that: & quot; To be a trade unionist is to walk with a gravestone on your back". This is why the Irish branch of Justice For Colombia (JFC) was established in December 2008. JFC is a trade union network that works in solidarity with the trade unions in Colombia. To date 12 of ICTU's affiliated unions and 5 Councils of Trade Unions have affiliated to JFC (the affiliation fee is 250 euro for unions and 50 euro for Trades Councils). JFC has developed a lot of activities including lobby work against the proposed Free Trade Agreement between EU and Colombia, campaigning for freedom for political prisoners (trade unionists) in Colombia and JFC has also organised several public meetings in Ireland with visiting Colombian trade unionists. We call on Congress to Encourage all the ICTU affiliates to join the Irish branch of Justice For Columbia. Continue ICTU's support for the campaign against the EU/Columbia Free Trade Agreement, as long as human and trade union rights are not respected in Columbia. Continue ICTU's support to the campaign to free political prisoners in Columbia. Continue to develop the relations with CUT, the Columbian Trade Union Congress.



Add to the second bullet point after we "Call on Congress to" with the following; and calls on all affiliates to lobby TD's, members of the Seanad and especially MEPs on this issue and also to make contact with trade union counterparts within other EU member states to take up the campaign against the Free Trade Agreement as set out above, and lobby their MEPs accordingly.