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Statements in International Organisations


INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION: 301st Session of the Governing Body 6 – 20 March 2008 (Geneva)

Report of the Director-General Second Supplementary Report: High-level mission (Colombia, 23-28 November 2007) - Statement by France on behalf of the Presidency of the European Union

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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*[1], the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

1. The European Union welcomes the visit of the ILO High-level mission from 25 to 28 November 2007 in Colombia whose mandate was to identify, together with the social partners, new requirements in order to guarantee the effective application of the Tripartite Agreement on Freedom of Association and Democracy, as well as of the technical cooperation programme in Colombia. The EU also believes that an active and well resourced ILO Office in Colombia is a vital part of ongoing efforts to promote labour relations, trade union protection and social dialogue.

2. The EU notes with satisfaction that the High Level Mission considered the discussions to have been informative, constructive, open and useful. Although, according to the report, all constituents welcomed the achievements reached so far, it is noted that the overall situation remains difficult and further efforts are necessary to meet the expectations of the social partners.

3. On the basis of this visit the Office prepared two documents that contain some positive aspects, namely:

  • the launch of the four projects, which will further strengthen the ILO presence in Colombia;
  • the allocation of US$ 4.7 million to date by the Government of Colombia in support of the aims of the Agreement;
  • the measures undertaken so far in the fight against impunity, namely the action by the Attorney-General’s Office and ad hoc judges as well as the protection programme for trade unionists;
  • the activities planned by the Director of the Subregional Office for the Andean Countries in order to continue harmonising the Decent Work Country Programme with the objectives of the Agreement;
  • the various and numerous activities of the officer in charge of the ILO activities in Colombia;
  • the continued cooperation of the Government of Colombia with ILO officials and the readiness of the officials of Colombian workers’ and employers’ organizations to further develop the commitments made in the Agreement.

4. However, the EU also stresses the recommendation of the High-level mission that all cases of violence against trade unionists should be opened and examined, and that no further backlog accumulated. The EU strongly encourages the Government of Colombia to speed up the fight against the very high rate of impunity and expects that significant progress in this regard can be reported in the coming months.


[1]*Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 15.04.2008