We are deeply disturbed that during the U.S. High-Level Dialogue with the Colombian government, Under Secretary Nuland and the U.S. Embassy through its Twitter account celebrated the U.S. relationship with the Colombian National Police following a year in which the police committed massive repression of protests. Dozens of people were killed; others were tortured; many were severely wounded, including losing their eyesight; others were sexually assaulted; and many protesters are facing serious charges in the justice system. Most of the victims are teenagers and young adults. There is little progress in achieving justice for these acts of police brutality.
These words are a punch in the gut for the Colombians protesting for justice and for all those working for human rights in Colombia. We call on the U.S. government to stop issuing such shameful statements, to push hard for serious police reform, including external oversight and removal of the police from the Defense Ministry, and to withhold aid to the police until justice advances and police reform is achieved.
Chicago Religious Leadership Network
Colombia Human Rights Committee
FOR Peace Presence
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
Latin America Working Group
Presbyterian Church USA
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
Washington Office on Latin America
Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective