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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.
Learn more here.
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.
November 20, 2019
Border closures, curfews and bans on sale of alcohol announced as tens of thousands are expected to march amid wave of turmoil Tens of thousands are expected to join protests on Thursday against the rightwing government of Iván Duque, whose popularity has dwindled steadily since he took office in August last year. “The government is worried because the people and organizations who have come out in support of the protest are more heterogeneous than they are used to,” said Sergio Guzmán, the director of Colombia Risk Analysis. “It’s not only the labour unions, or the students, or indigenous people; it’s all of them.”
November 15, 2019
Please find attached our letter (November 15, 2019) that we sent to officials in Colombia about the burning of the boat and outboard motor belonging to journalist David Torres in Simití in Bolivar Department on November 6.
November 13, 2019
Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez
President of the Republic of Colombia
Sr. Fiscal General Fabio Espitia Garzón
Attorney General of Colombia
November 13, 2019
We are shocked at the violent attacks on several indigenous people in less than a week in the Nasa Tacueyo reservation in Corinto, Cauca Department. Twelve were murdered, an assassination attempt on another, and others injured.
November 13, 2019
Building a more just society takes more than political and social activism; it also involves encouraging businesses to see the economic potential of the LGBT community. That was one of the key takeaways from the fifth annual WeTrade Fair hosted by the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce (CCLGBTCO). CCLGBTCO,a private non-profit organization, aims to support businesses in strengthening their internal and external LGBT diversity and inclusion programs. The WeTrade Fair, which billed itself as “the LGBT+ Fair in Latin America,” hosted over 20 large businesses that either specifically cater to an LGBT+ population or that are looking to expand their customer base to a more diverse audience.