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February 16, 2015
Bilateral of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas in Colombia

A delegation of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas comprised by Senator Michael L. MacDonald and Members of Parliament Jim Munson, Earl Dreeshen, and LaVar Payne visited Colombia from February 6 to 13, 2015.

The delegation met with Representative Germán Blanco, 1st Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and other parliamentarians to hear their viewpoints on the challenges and opportunities facing various regions of the country. They also attended briefings with Canadian Ambassador to Colombia Carmen Sylvain, Colombian Ambassador to Canada Nicolás Lloreda, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade of Colombia Mariana Sarasti Montoya.

The Canadian Section delegation had the opportunity to meet with several governmental departments: SPRCSociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena, and DIRANDirección de Antinarcóticos, to discuss narcotic smuggling methods, and ACRAgencia Colombiana de Reintegración, to hear from demobilized women in the process of reintegration. Alongside representatives of MAPP/OEAMisión de Apoyo al Proceso de Paz, the delegates reviewed a mission to support the peace process in Colombia, and with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), they reviewed the human rights situation in Colombia. The bilateral visit also included meetings with civil society organizations (ProantioquiaInsight CrimeFundación Plan) and the private sector (Red Eagle Mining).

Finally, the delegation received an overview of the Colombian justice system at the Universidad de los Andes, participated in a discussion with the Canada-Colombia Chamber of Commerce, and visited a comuna (urban neighbourhood) to meet with community leaders and victims of the armed conflict.