Date: May 06, 2019
Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte
Colombia’s hard-won peace is at stake. The peace accords—and the community leaders on the frontlines defending them—are at risk. But there’s still time to save the peace process and protect the lives of Colombia’s brave human rights defenders.
The peace accord signed between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2016 is an opportunity to end Colombia’s half-century-long conflict—which cost over 261,000 lives, displaced eight million people, and led to the disappearance of tens of thousands of Colombians. Today, however, the future of this historic peace is up in the air. The Duque Administration is cutting the peace accord’s budget and pushing to rewrite a core part of it that deals with transitional justice. It’s also tying up the implementation process in red tape. What’s more, the accord’s slow implementation is jeopardizing the lives of the human rights defenders and social leaders who are building peace from the ground up. Between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018, 431 human rights defenders and community leaders were killed.
Now’s the time to stand by Colombia’s human rights defenders and victims of violence who worked so hard for peace. We need to let them know we will stay by their side and will not let this once-in-a-generation opportunity for peace be lost forever. Take action NOW >>
With peace hanging in the balance, Colombians need every bit of international support to ensure this tragic chapter is finally closed. That’s why we’re calling on our government—which is backpedaling on peace—to openly and firmly come out in support of the peace process. Together with our Colombian partners and other U.S. civil society organizations, we put together a policy memo outlining the promises of and challenges for peace in Colombia. In the document, we include recommendations of ways the United States can contribute to sustainable solutions to preserve Colombia’s fragile peace.
In that same spirit, Representatives McGovern, Lewis, and Schakowsky have started circulating a “dear colleague” letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for the United States to stand firm in its support for the peace accords and a unified and unifying message in support of human rights and protection for human rights defenders. You can see a list of all the members who have already signed on here.
Here’s where you come in. We need everyone to CALL and email their representatives to ensure we get as many signatures as possible on this crucial message for peace!
Calling your members of Congress is the best way to get them to listen to you! You can use the script below as a guide:
Script: “Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m a constituent from [YOUR CITY]. I’m calling to urge [YOUR REP’S NAME] to sign onto a dear colleague letter in support of the full implementation of the Colombian peace accords and protection for human rights defenders at risk.. Our government must send a strong message of support for peace. Please contact Rep. Jim McGovern’s office to add [YOUR REP’S NAME] to the letter. The letter closes on Wednesday, May 22, so please make sure to sign on before then. Thank you for your time and attention!”
Once you’ve called your member’s office, click here to email them!
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Thank you for all you do to uphold human rights and justice! Your dedication and passion really do make a difference.