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Ottawa sees no abuse of rights linked to Colombia free trade impact: NDP

OTTAWA - The NDP and civil society groups are accusing the federal government of whitewashing human rights abuses in Colombia in its latest report on the impact of the free trade agreement with Canada.

The government quietly tabled the human rights report last week and, like last year, said it found no evidence the agreement had an impact in a country notorious for human rights abuses.

The NDP, along with Amnesty International and the Assembly of First Nations, say if Ottawa didn't find abuses, it's because they didn't look deeply enough or averted their eyes.

They noted that the report specifically excludes any activity in the mining sector, a key area of Canadian foreign investment in Colombia and also a traditional area of conflict with indigenous populations.

As well, they say, the government again restricted the ability of opponents to voice concerns by only allowing six days to respond to an online posting calling for submissions.

The result was that the government received only two submissions this year, after getting none in 2013.

The Canadian Press

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