Hello and Adios

Action Alert: Human Rights Accompaniers in Honduras Held Captive

URGENT ACTION
Armed Men from Mininig Company Hold International Human Rights Defenders Captive

By Friendship Office of the Americas

On July 25, two international accompaniers from the Honduras Accompaniment Project (PROAH from its initials in Spanish), from Switzerland and France, were held captive for two and a half hours in the community of La Nueva Esperanza by armed men who guard the mining operations of Lenir Perez, the owner of Minerales Victoria. The armed men have been in this rural community in the department of Atlántida for almost two months, terrorizing the villagers and threatening those who refuse to sell their land to the mining company.

Action Alert: Human Rights Accompaniers in Honduras Held Captive

URGENT ACTION

The following day, 250 people marched to Nueva Esperanza to express support for the community’s peaceful opposition to the mine and the role of international human rights accompaniers.

The abduction of international human rights defenders comes in the context of human rights violations and impunity which batter the country with no end in sight. In the last several weeks we have witnessed the brutal murders of a journalist, judge, lawyer, and a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras; the forced exile of a union leader; and intensified threats against human rights defenders.
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Cargill Illegal Land Grabs Implicate Colombia Presidency

Cargill Illegal Land Grabs Implicate Colombia Presidency
By Jake Van Jenzen

A century of neglect, drug trafficking, and civil wars had made the “wild-east” Colombian department of Vichada a publicly designated “wasteland”. By the 1990’s, however, reduced hostilities allowed the government to open it up in specially regulated parcels for poor landless peasants. With Colombia as the second most unequal land distribution in the hemisphere, the redistribution scheme seemed to address the reasons that have sparked the civil war. Courageous legislative measures, such as Article 72 of Law 160 in 1994, allowed these groundbreaking changes. Furthermore they specifically prohibit one person or entity from owning multiple agricultural family units in this territory.
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Walking Toward Peace Amid the War

War Resisters International
By Emily Schmitz

On July 4, 2013, FOR accompanied the Colombian Association of Conscientious Objectors, ACOOC, during the release of Juan Carlos Poveda Camaro from the army base in Villavicencio, where he had been held, as a declared conscientious objector, for 45 days.

Villavicencio, Colombia — Juan Carlos waits anxiously outside the army base, gazing beyond the chaos of the newly recruited soldiers surrounding him. In black jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt, he stands quietly apart from them; he is one of the few without military fatigues. Recruited in an illegal street round-up and held for 45 days without seeing his family, today he will finally go home.
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Protecting San José: Follow-up on combat

Protecting San José: Follow-up on combatBy Gina Spigarelli
Thanks to everyone who participated in our urgent action appeal this Spring in response to combat in La Unión and other dangerous army practices in and near the Peace Community. While fighting is regularly and unnecessarily staged in civilian populated areas around the Peace Community, the combat on April 9 was the first time in several years that a FOR volunteer and Peace Community members were caught in crossfire within their home village of La Union.
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Hello and Adios

 By John Lindsay-Poland

Hello and AdiosWith both sadness at departure and joy in the path we’ve walked together, we bid farewell this month to Liza Smith, who has served for the last five-and-a-half years as coordinator of the Fellowship of Reconciliation Colombia team and previously as Colombia campaign grassroots organizer. FOR Executive Director Mark Johnson praised Liza’s “leadership to the Colombia staff and program, loving kindness and exemplary friendship, her wonderful gifts to us all, and her exceptional work.” Liza will continue to serve as a volunteer and part-time consultant for FOR’s Colombia Peace Presence.