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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Colombia: The "Never Again" Project needs your help

Urgent Action

ACT NOW in support of Colombia’s Never Again Project, and prevent further 
violence against those who legitimately denounce state terror>

November 24, 2000

Dear Friends:

On Tuesday, November 28, 2000, two volumes of a report entitled Colombia:
Nunca Mas (Never Again) will be publicly presented in Bogota, Colombia.
These two volumes document some 3,500 cases of crimes against humanity
committed between 1966 and 1998 by state agents or their allies in the
regions of Magdalena Medio, northeast Antioquia, Meta and Guaviare.

Other volumes of Colombia: Nunca Mas to be released subsequently will focus
on other regions of Colombia, where more than 35,000 crimes against humanity
were committed during the same time period.

These reports are based on information collected by 16 prominent Colombian
organizations that form the NUNCA MAS initiative and include: ASFADDES,
Colectivo de Abogados "Jose Alvear Restrepo", Comision Intercongregacional
de Justicia y Paz, Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Politicos, Comité
Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, Comision Interfranciscana
de Justicia, Paz y Reverencia con la Creacion, Corporacion Sembrar, CREDHOS,
>Reiniciar, CODEHSEL, Corporacion Juridica Libertad, CEBS, Corporacion
>Humanidad Vigente, Fundacion Manuel Cepeda, ANUC-UR, ANDAS, Misioneros
>Claretianos de Colombia.
>Not only does the Colombia Never Again report document abuses, it 
>specifically who was responsible, what structures and institutions
>facilitated the violation of human rights, and they propose changes to
>ensure these abuses do not happen again. These recommendations are part of 
>larger proposal for constructing peace in Colombia on the basis of truth,
>justice, and reparations for the victims.
>In 1998, Bishop Juan Gerardi was murdered less than 48 hours after publicly
>presenting Guatemala’s Nunca Más report, a similar project to that
>undertaken by the NUNCA MAS coalition in Colombia. Indeed, members of the
>Colombian coalition are fearful that there will be a heavy cost to pay for
>revealing the truth through their report, in a context in which those
>identified in the report as being responsible for committing crimes against
>humanity continue to carry out similar violations today.
>ICCRHLA is extremely worried about the safety of colleagues working with 
>16 organizations named above and urges you to take action immediately to
>call for their protection.
>Please send urgent messages as soon as possible to the Colombian 
>expressing your support for Colombia Never Again and indicating your 
>that people and organizations involved in this project may be targeted by
>paramilitary death squads. Call on the government for immediate and
>effective measures to guarantee the safety of people and organizations who
>are exercising their legitimate rights within a democracy by publishing
>Colombia Never Again. (Please include the names of the organizations in 
>message.) Furthermore, call on President Pastrana to take seriously the
>evidence of state involvement in crimes against humanity documented in the
>report, and to act on recommendations to dismantle mechanisms that
>perpetuate systematic repression and impunity by such necessary actions as
>dismantling paramilitary groups, prosecuting those responsible for human
>rights abuses and ensuring such cases are tried in civilian courts, etc.
>A similar message should also be sent to the Canadian government, urging it
>to show leadership in communicating to its Colombian counterpart that the
>international community will not tolerate repression against the
>organizations involved in Colombia Never Again. Also call on the Canadian
>government to carefully analyze the evidence of state involvement in
>systematic repression in Colombia presented in the Never Again report, and
>develop appropriate responses within the framework of Canada’s bilateral 
>multilateral relations with Colombia.
>     1.. Colombian President Andres Pastrana: Fax 571-287-7939 or 284-2186 
>289-3377 or 337-1351; e-mail: pastrana@presidencia.gov.co
>2. Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley: Fax 613-996-3443 or 995-1534;
>e-mail: ManleJ@parl.gc.ca
>     1..
>a.. Please send copies of your letters to:
>     a.. Guillermo Rishchynski, Canada’s Ambassador to Colombia : Fax
>011-571-657-9910; e-mail: guill.rishchynski@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
>     b.. The Hon. Bill Graham, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign
>Affairs and International Trade: Fax 613-996-9607; e-mail: 
>     c.. ICCHRLA: Fax 416-921-3843; icchrla@web.ca
>Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America
>129 St. Clair Ave West
>Toronto, ON
>M4V 1N5

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