Urgent Action Alert 12 April 2010 ---News of a massacre in the Mining Zone, Municipality of Suarez, the Department of Cauca, Colombia
Please Call Your Representatives and the State Department Immediately to Help Protect Afro-descendants, Indigenous Communities and Peasant Farmers in Colombia!
NASGACC has received reports that on 8 of April of 2010 Eight miners were assassinated by armed men who were transported in two vehicles and one motorcycle, the facts happened in the municipality of Suárez, in the department of the Cauca, in the south of Colombia.
We are outraged and deeply saddened by the news of this new and utterly senseless violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims. Wanton acts of violence of this type have become all too familiar in this, and other parts of Colombia and have been occurring at precisely the moment that the government of the country is trumpeting their success in providing security throughout the country. This incident in Cauca underscores the clear complaints of Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant communities that President Alvaro Uribe's pronouncements of calm and security have been, and remain, elaborate facades intended to obscure significant failures in protecting the most vulnerable in the population.
Communities that continue to live under further threats of violence include municipalities of the North of Cauca, in particular in the municipalities of Suarez, Morales and Buenos Aires. Community residents in these areas, along with non-governmental organizations (ngo's) including the Process of Black Communities (PCN), the Association of Indigenous Town Halls of the North of Cauca, and the Association for Investigation and Social Action, have previously issued urgent requests to the government to address the continuous threats and the intimidations that have been a consistent element of the lives of the residents of the area. Neither the government, nor international human rights organizations responded to the requests issued by the communities and these supporting organizations. It is clear that, in spite of the extraordinary efforts and continuous appeals from local Afro-descendant organizations, farmers, indigenous groups, and human rights organizations, the atrocities continue today.
As a result of government indifference, the residents of these zones report that attacks against them are carried out with full impunity and in full view of the, ostensibly, responsible state authorities, including numerous military and police contingents.
This situation must end immediately!!!
What you should do IMMEDIATELY - contact:
Your Representative in his/her district office and express your deeply held concerns that this has taken place and that you want them to contact either the State Department, or the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to express their outrage and dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Colombian government has responded to this incident. Urge them to contact the Colombian authorities and demand that they take quick and decisive action to protect the remaining inhabitants, as well as investigate the massacre and bring those responsible to justice.
Please let us know of the responses you receive.
Also, once you have reached your representatives in their district offices, please also contact:
Steve Moody, Foreign Affairs Officer - Human Rights and Labor, Asia and Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tel: 202.647.8301)
Susan Sanford, Colombia Desk Officer, Andean Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (Tel: 202-647-3142)
Ask that they take immediate action and contact their Colombian government counterparts to express their deep concern for the safety of the Afro-Colombian population, and utter dissatisfaction with the inaction and failure to protect these communities despite warnings of imminent risk. Ask that they call on Colombian government to take immediate action to remedy these situations and to protect the remaining inhabitants, as well as investigate the massacre and bring those responsible to justice. Ask that they inform you on the progress of their communications.
Write/email/call your local media (print and broadcast) and ask that they do more to cover human rights abuses in Colombia. Do the same with the more prominent (national) media outlets especially the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and others. Ask that they give more space to cover the gross human rights abuses that are occurring in Colombia in Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant communities.
Please remember to distribute this advisory to your friends and colleagues and ask that they also join the fight and take the recommended action.
Be sure to let us know about any responses you receive, positive or negative
For Further Information Reply to: afro_colombians@
For more information on this issue go to: http://www.semana.com/
Rising Awareness on Afro-Colombian Grassroots Communities Struggle