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GP hosts Colombian labour lawyer and activist

November 23, 2015

Tonight our Ottawa office hosted an event with Colombian labour lawyer and activist, Francisco Ramirez Cuellar. Members of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers in the Ottawa region attended.


Peter Engelmann asks Francisco Ramirez Cuellar about labour activism in Colombia.

Mr. Cuellar spoke about the situation of labour unions and labour activists in Colombia. He discussed the difficult working conditions faced by Colombian workers, particularly in the mining and petrochemicals sectors, and the risks faced by leaders of trade unions, who are regularly faced with threats, violence and assassinations as a result of their trade union activity.

Mr. Cuellar also spoke about the efforts being made by labour lawyers in Colombia, in partnership with lawyers in other countries, to try to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses committed in Colombia. This includes claims for war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, actions filed in domestic courts in countries such as Ecuador or Argentina, complaints before international tribunals like the ILO and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and civil claims brought in the United States and Europe. Mr. Cuellar hoped to explore how similar actions might be brought in Canada.