There have been some positive signals on human rights in just the first three weeks of the Obama Administration. But since U.S. policy towards Colombia and Latin America is not a priority for this administration, we have to make sure that the United States is indeed standing up for human rights by putting our energy into educating and cajoling our representatives to support our values.
Now is the perfect time to start! Your representative and senators will be home on recess February 16-22 and April 6-17—and we are sure they’re eager to meet with you to hear your concerns about Colombia.
When you meet with your members of Congress, call on them to support a new direction in U.S. policy towards Colombia that focuses on ending impunity, strengthening respect for human rights, and standing by victims of violence. We encourage you to use this educational packet we’ve put together, which includes a letter outlining specific recommendations for U.S. policy and a few recent articles on human rights in Colombia.
You can find your representative’s contact information at www.house.gov and your senators’ at www.senate.gov. See Convincing Congress on our website for our ideas and tips on doing successful congressional advocacy.
Bring a few copies of our new report A Compass for Colombia Policy for them and their staff to read (if you need hard copies, email Travis at email@example.com and he’ll send them out right away). If you’ve traveled to Colombia to see the harmful effects of U.S. policy, you should share a few anecdotes from your trip with your member of Congress and include them in the letter.
If you have a new member of Congress, educating them early on and establishing yourself as a trusted voice is especially important—and it will help us build fresh momentum in Congress for a new direction in U.S. policy towards Colombia. Click here to see a list of new members. Send any new member meeting reports to Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the Obama Administration, not Congress, will play the largest role in setting U.S. policy towards Colombia this year, we’ll be focusing many of our advocacy efforts on the administration. But now is the right time to make sure members of Congress are going to stand up for human rights and will use their influence to keep positive pressure on the administration. So let’s get to it!