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Colombia: News & Updates
Colombia has the world’s second largest population of internally displaced persons (five million) due to the half-century internal armed conflict—the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere (since 1964). Control for territory and popular support among the three main groups (left-wing rebel forces FARC & ELN, right-wing paramilitaries, Colombian police/military) has left 220,000 killed, 75% of them non-combatants. Since 2000, the US has exacerbated the violence by sending more than $9 billion in mostly military assistance. Colombia, which has both Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, holds strategic interest for the US for global trade and military posturing.
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February 28, 2020 to March 8, 2020
Join Witness for Peace - Solidarity Collective to learn more about how climate change impacts social and grassroots movements.
January 5, 2020
The spaghetti dinner is an IRTF staple and, this year, Quin and Paul are looking to add a bit of intrigue by expanding the evening to include TRIVIA—every brainiac's favorite time to show off how very much stuff they have crammed into their noggins!
January 4, 2020
The Cleveland Immigration Working Group is engaged in a number of immigrant defense and support activities. We need more volunteer help. Please read below and consider helping with some of these needs: A. Safe Hotels Campaign B. Rapid Response Team C. Bond Packets for Release from Detention D. Court Monitoring E. Bus Reception F. Public Actions G. Sponsor Families H. Help for ICE Raid Victims and those in detention I. Prayer Support . If you would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, please email email@example.com or call (216) 961 0003.
December 25, 2019
We are extremely concerned about the continuing threatsfrom the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the paramilitary Gaitanistas Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC). ELN and AGC armed groups operating in Bojayá, are causing at least 2,250 people to live under forced confinement and life-threatening risk. Hostile actions include deployed landmines in the few areas with telephone coverage, which is restricting communities’ access to healthcare, food, water, and communication.
December 23, 2019
We are quite concerned about the safety of staff and members of the human rights organization dhColombia (Asociación Red de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos). Since the beginning of November, members of dhColombia have been surveilled by unknown men outside their homes and office. Prior to this, in August a member of dhColombia faced communication espionage, theft of sensitive information, and death threats. dhColombia made a request on October 4 for protection measures from the National Protection Unit (UNP); to our knowledge, they have not received a response.
December 22, 2019
We are shocked at three assassinations that occurred during the national strike that started on November 21. December 2 - Two unidentified attackers killed Manuel Santos Yatacue as he walked with his partner near the Elvira reincorporation zone in Buenos Aires in Cauca Department. Elvira is one of 24 areas where former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are based as they transition to civil society under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Manuel Santos Yatacue was a member of one of the local collectives establishing coffee production. Illegal armed groups, opposed to the peace process, are still vying for control over the illegal gold mining activities that continue there.
December 13, 2019
Michael Joseph is the UCC Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker in Colombia.The violence related to Colombia’s war was on the rise in the early 2000s when church and human rights partners in Colombia became concerned about a huge increase in U.S. military aid that they feared would add more fuel to the fire. They decided to document, as best they could, the impact of this war on the Protestant church in Colombia. Michael joined this documentation program after going to Colombia with Global Ministries in 2007. Today, twelve years later, this human rights documentation program has recorded over 10,000 human rights violations. In 2020 he will transition to working at the Nojolo'on Peace Center in Mexico as a Global Ministries Global Associate.
November 24, 2019 to December 4, 2019
Please support IRTF's full-time volunteer Paul Schmitt, who will be taking part in this important labor rights delegation. The Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ) and United States Labor Against the War (USLAW) are leading a joint delegation to Colombia from November 24 – December 4, 2019, timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Colombia’s peace accord that ended more than five decades of war between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). To contribute toward Paul Schmitt's delegation costs, please click on the DONATE button at the top of the IRTF website. Thank you.
November 27, 2019
President Duque, a right-wing leader known for his strong ties to scandal-hit former President Alvaro Uribe who has been in power for 15 months, has promised national dialogue with "all social sectors" until March 15 to address economic inequality, corruption, education, the environment, and many other issues. He met strike organisers on Tuesday (Nov 26), but there was no breakthrough and they called on people to take part in Wednesday's (Nov 27) continued strike.
November 26, 2019
November 26, 2019
We are deeply disturbed by the killing of 18-year-old Dilan Cruz, who joined a demonstration in Bogotá on November 23, which was part of the nationwide strike that began on November 21. After suffering injuries from being struck on the head by a police tear gas canister, he died on November 25, on the day of his anticipated high school graduation.