On December 11, Milton Enrique Rivas Parra, an operator and electrician who worked for the company Termotécnica, which is a subcontractor for the Canadian corporation Pacific Rubiales, was assassinated by contract killers. On December 10, Mr. Rivas Parra received death threats because he was affiliated with the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO). Mr. Rivas Parra was a leader of the ongoing demonstrations being held in Puerto Gaitán in defense of workers’ rights.
In October 2011, thirty Canadian organizations sent a letter to the Government of Canada, asking that it call on the Government of Colombia to enforce human rights and labour standards as well as to take urgent measures to put an end to the social and labour crisis.
In its response on October 11, 2011, the embassy reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the promotion of dialogue. One year later, the situation has deteriorated and led to the tragic and irreparable murder of a USO-affiliated worker. Since 2011, the company has done no more in response to the grave allegations against it than to attempt to improve its image with large-scale publicity campaigns.
We call on you today to tell us what steps the Canadian Embassy and the Government of Canada intend to take to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished.
Please inform us of any measures that the Canadian Embassy may have taken during 2012 to avert the deterioration of the situation, and how you intend to respond to this assassination.
In addition, under the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Colombia, we ask that the Canadian embassy transmit all necessary information regarding this conflict so that it may be represented in the annual report assessing the impact of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement on human rights.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers - CUPW
Centrale des syndicats du Québec -CSQ
Centre international de solidarité ouvrière – CISO
Committee for Human Rights in Latin America - CDHAL
Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union of Canada – CEP
Confédération des syndicats nationaux - CSN
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN
Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec - FTQ
Project Accompaniement and Solidarity with Colombia - PASC
Syndicat des enseignantes et enseignants du Collège Shawinigan - SEECS
Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec - SFPQ
United Steelworkers - USW