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EU ought to break ties with President Uribe

European MP: EU ought to break ties with President Uribe

In the light of the recent persecutions of members of the social movement in Colombia and the clear paramilitarisation of the country it is urgent to revise the relations between the European Union (EU) and Colombia, says member of the European Parliament Giusto Catania. Representatives of the majority of the European Parliament participated in the hearing "Freedom for Luz Perly Cordoba" about the extermination of members of the Colombian trade unions.

17.11.2004 [Jhony Valetta, ANNCOL] "Can the EU deal with local governments supported by narcoparamilitaries?", asked member of the European Parliament, Giusto Catania, earlier this month.

Catania, who is member of European Parliament for the European United Left/Nordic Green Left grouping, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the European Commission has declared that it gives human rights highest priority in its relations with Colombia.

But Catania reminds that this should be reflected in a reform of the current programs, given the governmentís responsibility for the persecution of the members of the social movement, and the clear paramilitarisation of the country mentioned even by Colombian pro-government newspapers.

"If president Uribe's government is institutionalizing the impunity that the narcoparamilitaries and their affiliates in the security forces profit by; if the Colombian government kills and imprisons union activists and defenders of human rights; then the Commission cannot ignore it, and this must bring about an urgent revision of the European relations with Colombia", declared Giusto Catania.

Catania also reminded that recently, on the 20th of October, when Colombian vicepresident Francisco Santos visited the European Parliament, some 15 parliamentarians from four different political groupings (that together represent the majority of the Parliament) together with various international organizations participated in the hearing "Freedom for Luz Perly Cordoba" about the extermination of Colombian trade unionists and human rights activists. It was here decided that the EU should play an active role in the defense of the human rights in Colombia.

The testimonies made by the affected Colombian organizations and by the international organizations led the parliamentarians to take some initiatives aiming to shed more light on the actions taken by the EU in relation to the repression as well as on the relationship between the EU and Colombia. European Parliamentarians will also monitor the court case against the leader of the campesino organization, Luz Perly Cordoba, which appears to be yet another example of the criminalization of trade union activism.

"It's necessary that we follow the situation in Colombia more closely", said Giusto Catania, "-and that we do it together with all the parliamentarians interested in defending the human rights, which is the majority of the Parliament as was recently seen in the rejection of the Italian commissary Buttiglione".

Catania also announced that the European United Left/Nordic Green Left achieved that the subject of Colombia be put on the agenda for the next parliament meeting in the middle of November.

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