Call on President Obama to Change U.S. Policy towards Colombia!
Since 2000, the United States has provided Colombia with $6.7 billion dollars in assistance, approximately three quarters of which is military aid. Meanwhile, Colombia's brutal war continues--thousands of people are killed each year and 1,500 more are violently driven from their homes each day.
But today is a new day for U.S. policy towards Colombia-a chance to leave behind failed policies and start fresh. Send an email to President Obama today asking him to break from the tired militaristic policies of the past and forge a new relationship with Colombia, one that opens avenues towards peace, builds economic opportunities for the poor, and stands by victims of violence.
With four million internally displaced people, Colombia is home to the Western Hemisphere's greatest humanitarian crisis, and ongoing conflict has forced half a million people to flee to neighboring countries. I urge you to act boldly to change U.S. policy in Colombia, beginning by:
--Ending all military aid to Colombia. The U.S. must stop funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to the Colombian military, given its ongoing ties to illegal paramilitary groups, its practice of killing innocent civilians, and a system of impunity that fails to prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses.
--Using U.S. influence to promote a negotiated end to the conflict. In a conflict that threatens to go on indefinitely, Colombians are daily taking risks to relieve the immense suffering of the civilian population and achieve peace. The United States should lend its weight in support of these efforts.
--Prioritizing social and humanitarian funding for internally displaced persons and refugees. Given the gravity of the crisis, the U.S. must make prevention of displacement and protection of IDPs a top priority.
--Supporting victims' efforts to find truth and obtain justice and integral reparations. Armed actors from all sides have terrorized civilians with heinous acts. The U.S. must stand by and empower the truly courageous individuals, especially victims, who are searching for truth, justice, and integral reparations in these cases.
--Increasing funds and accountability for programs that promote sustainable alternative development. The U.S. should ensure that such programs are designed in consultation with Colombian peasant, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
--Forging economic ties that spur people-centered development, and abandoning failed FTA policies. The U.S. should help create opportunities for small farmers, the rural poor, and endangered workers, rather than passing a free trade agreement capable of displacing Colombia's poor by pushing them further into poverty.
--Ending fumigation and forced eradication programs that have pushed thousands of farmers from their lands without reducing coca production. Instead, the United States should be investing in drug prevention and rehabilitation programs to reduce demand for drugs here at home.
--Protecting the rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities that have been disproportionately affected by displacement and the ravages of war. The United States should guarantee that U.S.-funded aid projects are not carried out on land obtained by violence.
Thank you for making human rights in Colombia a priority for your administration.
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