When: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at 7:00 PM
Where: Conserver House, 180 St. John St., Fredericton
“Great changes are happening in Colombia, where an appalling war of terror against trade unionists, indigenous peoples, and communities has left a people caught up in unimaginable violence. Chain saw massacres, forced disappearances and rape, have been a persistent scourge of the people and villages through 30 years of political violence. Now the government, with its gruesome links to paramilitarism is being challenged by the bulk of society and even in the Colombian courts. This has opened a space for a social movements – a broad coalition which gathers trade unions, peasant organisations, Indigenous communities, Afro-Colombians’ movements, women’s groups and grassroots Christian communities to come together under the banner of the Coalition of Social Movements (CoMoSoc), to raise a world – wide cry for an end to sixty years of slaughter.”
Brother Omar Fernández Obregón is a Franciscan brother, educator and activist, working with some of the most marginalized sectors of Bogota. Omar is active in the Coalition of Social Movements and Organizations of Colombia (CoMoSoc). Internationally, Omar is a trade justice activist and has coordinated and participated in many national and international events and tribunals on human rights both in Colombia and in other countries.
Brother Omar Fernández Obregón is in the Maritimes to share his concerns on the Canadian-Colombian Free Trade Agreement.
On November 21, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe announced the signing of the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement. Earlier in the year, after conducting a human rights study, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade called on the Canadian government to ensure that an independent human rights impact assessment be carried out and the results dealt with adequately before signing, ratifying or implementing a free trade deal with Colombia. Many Colombian and Canadian organizations are concerned that the free trade agreement has been signed without regard for the widespread and very serious human rights violations that continue to be the daily reality in Colombia.
In Canada, the tour with Brother Omar is being organized by KAIROS, RedLEIDH-York University, United Church of Canada, Americas Policy Group of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Amnesty International Canada (English Speaking Branch), Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network, the Fredericton Peace Coalition, Strax and Amnesty Fredericton.
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