Authors: Lisa Haugaard, Angelika Albaladejo
Call or email your representative TODAY to urge them to sign the dear colleague letter supporting human rights conditions on U.S. security assistance to Latin America. The deadline is fast approaching on COB Tuesday, November 3rd! Click here now to contact Congress.—>
Just like you, we don’t want our government to use our tax dollars for military and police forces that commit abuses. Here or abroad. Simple as that.
Our Congress is wrapping up work on foreign aid bills that include military and police aid for the Americas. We believe U.S. aid for the Americas should be humanitarian aid, not security assistance. But at an absolute minimum, any security assistance should come with strong, enforceable human rights conditions. The House version of the bill has no human rights conditions for Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras. That’s just plain wrong.
Today, Colombia is advancing towards a historic peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas—but must still resolve brutal human rights violations by all parties to the conflict, including over 4,000 extrajudicial executions of civilians—often, young men from poor neighborhoods killed to jack up army soldiers’ body counts. Guatemala and Honduras have been rocked by major government corruption scandals, use the military to patrol the streets and fail to punish past and current crimes by security forces. And Mexico is not even trying to effectively address massive human rights violations, many of which include its own security forces. To mention just one horrific incident: the forced disappearance of 43 students in September 2014.
We need your help urging the House and the Senate to support continued human rights conditions on security aid. Representatives Pitts, McGovern, Donovan, and Farr are collecting signatures on 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.
Call or email your representative in the House TODAY to urge them to sign the dear colleague letter supporting human rights conditions on U.S. security aid to Latin America.
We know from experience that the influence of grassroots activists like you can make a major impact. Last July, LAWG’s supporters encouraged 82 members of the House to sign a letter to Secretary Kerry expressing their concern about the human rights situation in Mexico. We urged Secretary Kerry to make the defense of human rights a central part of the bilateral agenda with Mexico. And, it looks like it worked!
The State Department recently used human rights conditions on security aid, withholding $5 million of security assistance to Mexico based on the country’s failure to address massive human rights concerns. The amount of money is small, but the message is clear: the United States government can hold regional governments accountable to protect human rights and investigate human rights violations.
Help make a difference once again by contacting your representatives. Click here to tell your member of Congress to sign the dear colleague letter today!
P.S. Have you signed our petitions? Join us in urging President Obama to protect children and families fleeing violence in Central America. Then, help us urge the Colombian government and the FARC to include Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples in the peace talks.