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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs

The Labor Department today announced a $1 million grant to provide training and technical education in the U.S. for Colombian trade union leaders. Unions in that country play an integral role in advancing civil society by promoting the rule of law and transparency, fostering peace, supporting economic growth and enhancing respect for human rights. Such activities are at the core of U.S. foreign policy toward Colombia.

In commenting on the grant, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao said, "This program supports our foreign policy goals and national security interests in Colombia and in the hemisphere overall. Trade unions in Colombia play an important role in expanding human rights as supporters of the peace process, promoters of civil society and key participants in the national debates on economic, political and social policy. The violence in Colombia and the general economic malaise in the region destroy lives and also discourage private investment and undermine economic reform. We look to help expand human rights as well as generate economic expansion."

The grant will allow up to 25 Colombian trade unionists to receive union training and technical education in the U.S. for up to one year. The Solidarity Center in Washington, in cooperation with the National Trade Union School in Medellin, will administer the program. That will include setting the criteria for selection and development of training agendas. In addition, The Solidarity Center will consult with the principal Colombian trade unions, the Colombian Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization. The actual training will be done at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies and AFL-CIO affiliates. The Solidarity Center will also cover costs of transportation, housing, language training and educational programs. Immediate family members will accompany unionists when separation could result in danger or hardship. The training will focus on the organizational and administrative skills needed to function effectively in a modern economy.

U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Anne W. Patterson said, "The Labor Department's program will make a timely, concrete demonstration of our government's commitment to support democracy and civil society in Colombia."

The grant is part of the global technical assistance program of the Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
April 11, 2001
Media Contact: David Roberts
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