Roger was among a small group of MPs who voted against approving the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Colombia and Peru Trade Agreement) Order 2013. Sixty-one MPs chose to vote against accepting this free-trade agreement with Colombia in protest against the country’s failure to honour its commitments on human rights.
Roger explained the reason for his “no” vote: “Once again, this Government have put economic interests above human rights. In just one year, 37 human rights activists were murdered in Colombia, sixteen of whom were murdered by Government forces during strike action. The free trade agreement sets out standards for human rights protection, but I am concerned that this is just empty rhetoric that will not be enforced. This House should not condone the murder of innocent people by their own Government.”
The trade agreement was passed by the House, but Roger and his colleagues who voted against it felt that it was important to make a stand against human rights abuses, wherever in the world they take place.