(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN’s Program Assistant)
Seven Spanish politicians will meet with representatives of the government in Colombia and with groups from different spheres on Saturday the 23rd to “calibrate the respect” for the human rights of that country.
As Joan-Josep Nuet, representative of the (mostly communist) Unified Left coalition in the Senate (High Spanish Parliament Branch) told Efe, the intention of this trip is to act as “a type of thermometer” to “calibrate the respect and fulfillment of the human rights in Colombia.”
The expedition is coordinated by the NGOs Justice Platform for Colombia and Taula Catalana for Peace and Human Rights in Colombia, although the politicians involved absorb all the cost of the travel, room and board during the eight-day trip, explained Nuet.
In addition to Nuet, the delegation consists of six deputes of Congress (lower branch), representing all groups of Parliament, with the exception of the Popular Party, the principle opposition party in Spain.
The first meeting on the “closed and frenetic” agenda of this group will be to meet with the Vice-President of the Colombian government, Francisco Santos, in petition, according to Nuet, of the Executive of Colombia that expressed its desire to open “the round of contacts.”
From there, the Spanish politicians will have about 30 encounters with the forces represented in the Colombian Congress, unions, peasant farmer groups, and organizations of women, to complete, according to the Catalan Senator, “a mission of verification of human rights.”
Upon its return, this delegation will summarize in a briefing its conclusions to submit to the Spanish institutions, with the hopes of making a tangible social impact.
“Within our group (Unified Left), we want to take advantage of this semester of EU presidency to ensure that the topic of Colombia does not go by the wayside. We want to reinforce now more than ever the discussion about the American bases,” stated Nuet.
The Spanish presidency of the European Union (that will last through the first semester of 2010) has, amongst its priorities, the strengthening of relations between Europe and Latin America. This is a theme that will prevail during the summit that will be held in May in Madrid.