WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
23 Oct 2015 | Commentary | News

Afro-Colombians Unprotected from Exploitation and Violence

A new report by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU) finds evidence of “woefully poor enforcement” of labor and human rights laws throughout Colombia, leaving Afro-Colombians and other minorities vulnerable to exploitation and abuses at the hands of armed groups.

From October 1 to October 6, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) led a delegation of members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU) to Colombia at the request of the Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) to examine compliance of the U.S. – Colombia Labor Action Plan and to encourage the Colombian government to include the voices and proposals of the Afro-Colombian community in the peace process. The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) supported this visit.

Following the visit to Cali, Quibdó, and Bogota, the CBTU outlined their findings, conclusions and recommendations in the following report.

Thus, among its recommendations it asks for the United States to work with Colombia on the following fronts:

  • Inclusion of proposals and voices of Afro-Colombian community in the peace process.
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor and Unites States Trade Representative (USTR) to take bold actions that guarantee that the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan is fully implemented.
  • Work with Colombian counterparts to address the human rights, labor rights, collective land rights and protection concerns affecting Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. In particular, guarantee full implementation of the U.S. human rights conditions for Colombia’s receipt of military aid.

To read the report please click here.

To hear Gimena Sanchez, WOLA’s Senior Associate on Andes, talk about the visit to Colombia and the impact of the conflict on the Afro-Colombian community, please click here.