Rep. Langevin (RI) is now circulating a letter to Colombian President Uribe that highlights the Justapaz break-in within the pattern of politically-motivated attacks against peace and human rights organizations in Colombia. Click here to read the letter. As you may already know, on June 14 the Justapaz office in Bogotá was broken into, as were the offices of Fellowship of Reconciliation on June 2. Computers containing sensitive information on cases of human rights violations and peace and church workers were stolen. You can read a letter from Justapaz to churches about the attack.
Since this loss puts the witnesses to the atrocities and church peace workers at risk, I invite you to call your representative immediately through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to sign on to this letter to President Uribe. Ask to be connected to the office of your member of Congress, and when the receptionist answers, ask to be connected to the foreign policy aide. You will likely be asked to leave a message the first time around. Sample message:
I am a constituent from ___ and I am calling to urge Congressman/woman ___ to sign the “dear colleague” letter on the Justapaz and Fellowship of Reconciliation break-ins circulated by Representative Jim Langevin. It sends a strong message in support of churches and non-governmental organizations working for peace in Colombia. I hope ____ can sign this important letter before it closes on July 10.
Follow-up is always helpful as well! Many of our local churches in regions of Colombia fear reprisals if they convey their concerns about the case to Colombian authorities, so they are depending on support from the international community. Justapaz has also posted an update to their Web site that includes answers to frequently asked questions about the break-in, international support actions, and biblical passages that have been relevant in their reflections on the attack.
Janna Hunter-Bowman works for Mennonite Central Committee in Bogotá, Colombia, as the coordinator of the Documentation and Advocacy Program forJustapaz, the peace and justice ministry of the Colombian Mennonite Church.