COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Send message to U.S. State Department regarding assassination of Colombian indigenous leader's husband

CPTnet
22 December 2008
COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Send message to U.S. State Department regarding assassination of Colombian indigenous leader's husband

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is forwarding the following urgent action written by the Latin American Working Group (LAWG), with whom CPT’s Colombia team has collaborated extensively.  CPT accompanied the nonviolent protests of indigenous people mentioned below while they were in Bogotá. See http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2008/11/25/colombia-indigenous-peoples-join-qu...

This assassination is not the first time the Colombian military has used violence against indigenous leaders.  Once again, the shooting appeared to be a deliberate attack on the leadership of the indigenous peoples who are attempting to force dialogue with the government on land and human rights issues. 

December 18, 2008

Dear Colombia Advocates:
We're saddened to report that the spouse of an indigenous activist working in Cauca was killed when Colombian soldiers fired shots into his vehicle this past Tuesday.

The killing of Edwin Legarda shows that despite recent firings of top military officials, the Colombian government is not doing enough to prevent new civilian killings by the army.

We need you to take action right away.  Send the U.S. State Department a message to stop the cycle of impunity in Colombia and ensure that the soldiers responsible for this killing are brought to justice.  An easy form for doing so may be found at
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2FjEVRsHMfHWGkOkTU1g10fUu5TnDCFul

The letter also calls on State to enforce the basic human rights conditions on U.S. assistance by suspending aid to all army units involved in civilian killings or abuses against indigenous communities.

Edwin's wife is a leader of the Regional Council of the Indigenous Communities of Cauca and just returned from Geneva where she testified before a United Nations human rights council on the crisis facing indigenous communities in Colombia today.

Earlier this year, the situation of indigenous communities deteriorated so much that indigenous leaders launched a peaceful protest across Colombia to urge the government to respect indigenous rights. Instead of listening to these concerns, the Colombian government sent anti-riot police and military units to various protests, which in many cases led to violence.

The tragic murder of Edwin Legarda makes it clear that there's so much more to be done--but by taking action today, you can help stop the army's attacks against indigenous leaders and their families.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2FjEVRsHMfHWGkOkTU1g10fUu5TnDCFul

Please e-mail this message to five of your friends, family members, and colleagues.