5 May 2014
COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Send e-mail to U.S. State Dept this week urging suspension of aid to Colombian military
Take Action: Send a message to the State Department
In the coming week, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)
will be issuing a report about the “False Positive” murders committed by the
Colombian military entitled, “The Rise and Fall of ‘False Positive’ Killings in
Colombia.” (“False positives” were executions of civilians by troops who then
claimed the victims were guerrillas killed in combat.) The research in the report shows that of
the Colombian School of the Americas/WHINSEC instructors and graduates from
2001 to 2003 for which information was available 48% had
either been charged with a serious crime or commanded units whose members had
reportedly committed multiple extrajudicial killings. John Lindsay Poland, author of the report, will be meeting
with State Department Representatives this week.
Accordingly, FOR, SOAWatch, and other NGOs think it is
important at this time for immediate e-mail pressure on the State Department to
end assistance to the Colombian military.
In February, General Jaime Lasprilla Villamizar was appointed commander
of the Colombian Army. A former
instructor at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly
known as the School of the Americas) General Lasprilla previously commanded
Task Force Omega, which received tens of millions of dollars in U.S. training,
supplies and equipment, under Washington’s ill-conceived drug war and “war on
terror.” In 2006-2007, Lasprilla
directed the Ninth Brigade in Colombia’s Huila Department, which was
responsible for at least seventy-five killings of civilians under his command. Lasprilla’s appointment shows that Colombia
is continuing its culture of impunity regarding military human rights abuses.
The U.S. Leahy Law prohibits aiding a foreign unit if there
is credible information that the unit’s commander committed gross human rights
abuses. To abide by Leahy Law, Washington
must end its assistance to the Colombian Army, until those
responsible for the killings committed under Lasprilla’s command face justice.
Take Action: Click here to
send a message to the State Department. Most of the killings committed under Lasprilla in Huila are
“false positives,” many are under investigation by Colombian human rights
prosecutors. The Army reportedly
carried out more than 4,000 such killings from 2002 to 2010.
Lasprilla was an instructor at WHINSEC in
2002-2003, and studied for a year at the National Defense University in
Washington in 2005-06, just before his deployment to Huila.
Take action: Send a
message to Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Tom
Malinowski, and urge him to apply Leahy Law to the Colombian Army under General
Lasprilla’s command: https://cpt.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0316-2.jpg/colombia.
From our friends at the School of the Americas Watch