Due to the violent response of the Colombian National Police, protestors began to demonstrate against underlying issues of economic and racial injustice, inadequate response to the pandemic, the failure to implement Colombia’s historic peace accords fully, the government’s failure to protect workers’ rights and safety, and the violence against human rights defenders and social leaders. Colombia’s National Police have used lethal and non-lethal weapons against protestors that violate Colombian and international human rights law. This excessive force has been denounced by the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights, The E.U., OAS, and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
Despite the gross misconduct of the National Police and a growing concern about mass human rights violations, Colombia’s National Police will currently receive approximately $140 million in additional assistance in the proposed F.Y. 2022 budget. Please contact your members of Congress and urge them to take action against police brutality in Colombia. Ask them to suspend all police and military aid until the police violence and militarization is stopped, the Colombian government works with government agencies and human rights to locate missing persons and releases detainees, and substantial efforts are made to understand, address, and improve the current systemic issues and abuses.
Human rights leaders in Colombia are demanding reform of Colombia’s military and police. And Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), along with 55 other members of Congress called for a suspension and reexamination of U.S. military aid to Colombia. According to Congressional Research Services, Colombia received $412.9 million in aid from the U.S. in F.Y. 2021, it is the largest recipient of foreign aid in Latin America.
Our partners in the Peace Commission of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia have issued a statement reminding us that as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to stand by and stand up for those who are impoverished and defenseless. We condemn the use of force against protestors, and the senseless violence of the National Police. In tandem with our partners in Colombia who are urging action on the part of the Colombian government, we are calling for action from the U.S. Congress.
Please stand with the peaceful protestors in Colombia and take action today!