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EU Parliament calls on Peru and Columbia to improve human rights record

EU Parliament calls on Peru and Columbia to improve human rights record
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MEPs have demanded Peru and Columbia do more to protect human and labour rights before the EU seals a free trade deal with the two countries later this year. The call came as Peru’s President Ollanta Humala addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Despite the criticism, the Columbia government insisted Bogota was making every effort to better the country’s civil liberties.

“There is a common agenda between Colombia’s Federal Government and the country’s public prosecutors to improve human rights,’‘Columbia’s Attorney-General Eduardo Montealegre Lynett said.

But many MEPs remain deeply concerned, particularly with Columbia, even though EU trade ministers gave the green light to the free-trade deal last month.

European United Left MEP Willy Meyer said: “We have serious problems. Trade unionists are murdered, activists are persecuted, those that try to defend human rights are criminalised. Consequently, we cannot tolerate that. Through this free trade deal, we are giving support to a government that does not guarantee respect for human rights.’‘

MEPs also called on the two Latin-American countries to do more to protect the environment, before the trade pact with the EU is passed in October.