The Hike That Kills

The Hike That Kills

By Liza Smith

Friday, December 3, 2010, 12:19pm

by Jon Patberg, current Accompaniment Team Member in Colombia

I recently came back from a six day accompaniment journey to a remote village called Mulatos about 16 miles to the northeast of La Union. Mulatos is the site of the 2005 massacre in which community leader and ideologue, Luis Eduardo Guerra, his wife, his son and two other community members were murdered, dismembered and buried alongside the river by paramilitary groups. Since then, the village was vacated and has slowly re-populated as people came back from displacement. In addition, the peace community has made Mulatos its future center of operations, both because of its memorial importance and because of its geographic centrality amongst the villages of the peace community.
READ MORE >>>

New Video Blog: The Radio Is the Military’s Biggest Rifle

By Liza Smith

“I was in my bed when an explosion rocked our house.” FORColombia Peace Team member Isaac Beachy tells of combat on the edge of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, and analyzes how the Colombian military reported on it. Meanwhile, community kids carry on in a party. Filmed on October 30, 2010. Watch the video here.

Join us at SOA: International Solidarity Can Make the Difference!

By Susana Pimiento

Join us at SOA: International Solidarity Can Make the Difference!
Starting Thursday, November 18th, the Fellowship of Reconciliation will again be at Fort Benning, Georgia, at the annual vigil in front of the School of the Americas. We invite participants to explore ways that international solidarity can make the difference countering the expansion of U.S.militarism in Latin America and spread the word about theFOR’s Peace Presence in Colombia, which offers a unique opportunity to share the lives of courageous peasant farmers striving for a life in peace and dignity.

Applications to join our accompaniment team in Colombia are currently open. This will be the focus of our workshop on Friday, November 19th, 8:00-10:00 PM, in Convention Center Room 210.
READ MORE >>>

Report: Military Assistance and Human Rights: Colombia, U.S. Accountability, and Global Implications

U.S. military aid flowing to Colombia is having a direct, negative effect on the human rights of Colombians. Though the “Leahy Law” prohibits aid to military units that have committed gross violations, the United States continues to support such units in Colombia. Worse, areas where Colombian army units received the largest increases in U.S.assistance reported increased extrajudicial killings on average.

You can read the executive summary below, browse our recommendations, or download the full report (PDF, 1.4 MB).

Executive Summary

The scale of U.S. training and equipping of other nations’ militaries has grown exponentially since 2001, but there are major concerns about the extent to which the U.S.government is implementing the laws and monitoring the impact its military aid is having on human rights. This report by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and U.S. Office on Colombia examines these issues through a detailed case study of U.S. military aid, human rights abuses, and implementation of human rights law in Colombia.

28U.S. Military Assistance to the Colombian ArmyThe experience of US military funding to Colombia shows alarming links between Colombian military units that receiveU.S. assistance and civilian killings committed by the army. To prevent similar errors in Afghanistan and Pakistan, relevant Congressional committees and the State Department Office of the Inspector General must thoroughly study the Colombia case and implementation of U.S. law designed to keep security assistance from going to security force units committing gross human rights violations.
READ MORE >>>

Monument to Impunity: Medellín Judge Acquits Officers Involved in Massacre

Monument to Impunity: Medellín Judge Acquits Officers Involved in Massacre
 Disregarding recent Supreme Court precedents on command responsibility, a judge in Medellin acquitted 10 officers investigated for the February 2005 massacre in which Peace Community members, including 3 children were brutally murdered. The ruling was released August 6th. (1)

Although it had been proven that army and paramilitary forces had patrolled together for several days, including the day when the massacre took place, the judge found that the army could not be held responsible for the killings, because there was no proof that the officers had planned the actual killings in advance with the death squads and that “they did not know nor should have known the risks of their action [of patrolling with the illegal groups]”.
READ MORE >>>