With your help, 28 members of the House of Representatives have signed a bipartisan letter urging the House and Senate appropriations leadership to maintain human rights conditions on security aid to Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in the FY2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill. In just 4 days, our network of grassroots activists sent 777 emails and made countless phone calls urging their representatives to support strong, enforceable human rights conditions on U.S. security assistance to Mexico, Colombia, and Central America. As our Congress wraps up work on foreign aid bills that include military and police aid for the Americas, these 28 representatives have shown their support for continued inclusion of human rights conditions.
The letter circulated by Representatives Pitts, McGovern, Donovan, and Farr highlights the “critical human rights challenges” facing the region and recognizes the importance of maintaining human rights conditions on U.S. security assistance. The letter points to the role of human rights conditions as a tool for holding security forces and governments accountable for human rights violations that have gone unpunished, including the false positives scandal in Colombia, the forced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa school in Mexico, and the high-level corruption scandals in Guatemala and Honduras. As the letter states, “this is not the moment for the United States to backtrack on its public commitment to human rights… Congressionally established human rights requirements are an important tool of diplomacy… They send a message to brave prosecutors, judges, journalists, human rights defenders, priests, and nuns who risk their lives to make their countries a better place.”
The Latin America Working Group comends these members of Congress for taking a stand to support human rights in the region. We especially thank all of the advocates and grassroots activists who worked to encourage their members to sign on.
To read the complete letter and see the list of signatories click here.