On October 12th, more than 12,000 indigenous Colombians gathered to peacefully protest the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement and the Colombian government's consistent failure to return land obtained by violence to indigenous communities.
Rather than listening to the concerns of these marginalized communities, the Colombian government sent anti-riot police and military units to various protests, in many cases leading to violence. In an incident in northern Cauca, at least one person was killed, and several hundred were wounded, when, according to reports, security forces fired live ammunition into the crowd.
The State Department and U.S. Embassy in Bogotá have been monitoring this situation, but now they need to hear from you. Tell State to stand up for human rights by standing by indigenous communities and protestors who are under attack as they strive for a more just Colombia. Thanks to Witness for Peace for organizing this online action.
With congressional elections only a week away, it's time to say "¡gracias!" to your members of Congress if they've been a champion for human rights, peace, and justice in Colombia over the last two years. To thank them, we'd like you to send a colorful kite-pin, made by internally displaced women in Colombia, to their offices. This is an important symbol of solidarity with Colombia's victims–and of hope for a more peaceful future! If you'd like to do this (and we hope you do!), send Travis an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will mail the kite pins to you.
Finally, we have just released A Compass for Colombia Policy, written by LAWGEF and three of our closest partner organizations. The report makes a strong case to the next president for a new, positive direction in U.S. policy that focuses on ending impunity and strengthening respect for human rights, while also investing in drug treatment programs to help reduce demand here at home. After next week's elections, we'll be asking you to help us "spread the word" about this new resource—so we hope you're ready!