Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia
The newly organized "Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia" is sponsoring two major events in Chicago.
The "Tribunal on Human Rights in Colombia: the case of Santodomingo" will take place in Chicago on September 22 and 23, 2000. The case involves the deaths of 19 civilians, including seven children, in Santodomingo, Colombia, on December 13, 1998, in a military attack on the community. The Colombian government has neither fully investigated nor assigned responsibility for the deaths in the small community of Santodomingo. The Tribunal will include expert witnesses and forensic evidence, as well as testimony from witnesses.
On January 26-27, 2001, members of the Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia will conduct "Public Hearings on Human Rights in Colombia" which will investigate the human rights situation in Colombia and U.S. policy before a panel of public officials, religious and labor leaders, and journalists. The hearings will address:
- the findings of the Tribunal on Human Rights in Colombia
- the scope and nature of human rights abuses in Colombia
- military-paramilitary collusion
- the devastating effects of impunity
- U.S. policy and the economic and geo-strategic interests behind the war on drugs.
- the dangerous liaison in military funding.
- the role for grass-roots advocacy in changing U.S. policy.
In a letter announcing the events, the Chicago Campaign points out that every day in Colombia, people are disappeared, tortured, and killed for political reasons. Some 900 persons flee their homes every day. According to reports, 1,900,000 people have been forcibly displaced in recent years in Colombia. 1,100,000 of them children or minors. The social impact of this terror and displacement is significant for the entire country and life-threatening for the poor. Groups and individuals working for social change and real democracy are subjected to fear and paralyzing terror. Impunity for those guilty of political violence reveals a complete breakdown of the judicial system in Colombia. The state appears unable and unwilling to guarantee even the most basic right to life for its citizens. U.S. military aid and support for this dysfunctional state apparatus has contributed to the rending of the social fabric in Colombia.