In the next few weeks the U.S. State Department will decide whether or not to certify that the Colombian government is doing enough to prioritize human rights to merit continued U.S. military aid.
The U.S. government can send a strong message to the new Colombian administration by telling the truth: Colombia's government has not sufficiently respected human rights in the past year to deserve certification.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled invalid the agreement signed last October allowing the United States to use at least seven military bases in Colombia. In a ruling issued on Tuesday, the high court said the agreement is an international treaty, and must be approved by the Colombian Congress and its constitutionality reviewed by the court itself.
A detailed report released today by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) describes how U.S. funding to the Colombian military has been supporting army units whose members have killed hundreds of civilians.
Drawing on extensive data from the Colombian Attorney General’s and Inspector General’s offices, 20 human rights organizations, the U.S. State Department, and the Colombian military, the report shows that massive military training, equipment and intelligence provided under the rubric of Plan Colombia have abrogated U.S. human rights law and contributed to the killing of thousands of civilians by the Colombian Army.
“The U.S. has provided more than $6 billion in support to Colombia since 2000,” said John Lindsay-Poland, FOR’s research and advocacy director. “This money is used to support military units that have been proven to murder innocent civilians. That is outrageous and needs to stop.”
The Colombia Accompaniment Program, a joint effort of the PC(USA), the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, announces that the Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo will serve as the new Director of Colombia Programs and that Linda Eastwood will serve as Accompaniment Program Coordinator.