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4 Aug 2014

David Alton, Independent Crossbench Life Peer, UK House of Commons

UK House of Lords debate highlights need to include human rights in Colombia trade pact, per UK Natl. Action Plan

“Colombia – Trade Deal that threatens indigenous Colombians, Afro-Colombians, Human Rights Advocates, Natural resources and the Environment – “Good for British business and bad for Colombian human rights””, 30 July 2014 

...Today’s welcome debate…should ring alarm bells about human rights in Colombia and…alert us…to the dangers faced…by lawyers and human rights defenders…[T]he United Kingdom has significant leverage, as Britain…is…[the second largest foreign investor] in Colombia…[There is a] serious imbalance between the significant protection afforded to investors, compared to the lack of protection and resources available to the indigenous people and local communities affected by development…[This] places the United Kingdom Government in a position of direct inconsistency with their commitments under the…action plan Good Business, which implements the Ruggie UN Guiding Principles…[W]hat plans the Government have to incorporate safeguards…in the treaty to enable the UK to ensure that its foreign investments do not make us complicit in serious human rights violations?.. Although there has been some improvement in the…situation in Colombia…[w]e are all very concerned about the way in which human rights need to feed into these treaties nowadays…