This is a part of my series of posts on the El Salvador Human Rights Ombudswoman, Dr. Beatrice Alamanni de Carrillo.
In December 2004, as the Salvadoran National Assembly was considering ratifying CAFTA, Dr. Carrillo issued a statement questioning the treaty. Now that the US Congress is considering the treaty, those comments are worth noting again. In particular she questioned the lack of public participation in the negotiation and drafting of its provisions. She also questioned its impact on labor rights in the region:
"The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson has carried out a serious analysis of CAFTA, based on studies and reports by institutions such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and even the World Bank (WB), that reflects the serious impact of the Agreement on the right to work and to organize trade unions despite the fact that the Agreement includes chapters on labor and the environment. The analysis also shows the inadequate and ineffective legal and institutional framework that exists for the protection and defense of these rights. Furthermore, there are significant doubts and resistance concerning the unjust logic of the mechanism for sanctioning violations of labor and union rights. The burden of these sanctions will not fall on the companies that commit the violations but rather on the State and, thus, on citizens whose taxes will ultimately pay these fines. This will in no way promote the eradication of such violations."
For the status of the political battle in the US over CAFTA, from the perspective of one agricultural state, see this story.