Threats, Targeted Killings of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

Call Your Member of Congress Today!

As many advocates already know, the National Movement for Victims of State Crimes organized a March 6th protest to call attention to Colombia's victims of paramilitary violence and to condemn acts of violence by all actors.  In the days leading up to the protest, Jose Obdulio Gaviria, a close advisor to President Uribe, went on national radio to suggest that the March 6th rally was "convened by the FARC."  After these false and reckless comments were made, many human rights groups received email death threats from the Black Eagles and at least four trade unionists were murdered.  


Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) are circulating a "dear colleague" letter to President Uribe of Colombia over the recent wave of threats against, and targeted killings of, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and others in Colombia.  Click here to read the letter.  The dear colleague letter calls on the Colombian government to fully investigate these threats and murders and to bring those responsible to justice.  The letter also urges President Uribe to take concrete actions to ensure government officials stop making comments that put the lives of human rights defenders at risk.


Take Action!  Call your Representative today and encourage him or her to sign this important letter in support of human rights defenders in Colombia.  Representatives Gutierrez, Rush, Hare, and Jackson have already signed on.  If your Representative has already signed on, please call and say thank you for his or her commitment to protecting human rights in Colombia.  If your Representative has NOT yet signed on, please call and urge him or her to do so by this THURSDAY, April 10th.  See below for a list of Illinois Representatives, Foreign Policy staffers, and their contact information. Also, if you don't know who your Representative is go to and type in your zip code to find out.   When you call, ask to speak with the foreign policy aide. If he or she is unavailable, please leave the following message on his or her voicemail:



"My name is ­­ _______.  I live in ____(name of your neighborhood or town____).  I'm calling to ask that Rep ­­­________ sign onto an important "dear colleague" letter recently introduced by Representatives Schakowsky and McGovern. The letter calls on President Uribe and the Colombian government to investigate bring to justice those responsible for the recent wave of threats against and targeted killings of human rights defenders following the March 6th rally against paramilitary violence in Colombia. It urges Uribe to take immediate action to ensure that government officials - who have publicly suggested that the March 6th rally was "convened by the FARC" - stop making public comments that put the lives of human rights defenders at risk.  As the administration seeks more aid for war and approval of the U.S.-Colombian free trade agreement, we have to demand our elected officials take human rights seriously. Can I count on Representative ________ to sign this important letter to support human rights in Colombia? Please let me know. My phone number is ___________. Thank you."


If your member of Congress is interested in signing on, they should contact Megan Garcia in Representative Schakowsky's office by the end of the day on Thursday, April 10th. 


Your calls could make the difference - please let us know what you hear back!


Let's continue to work together to ensure our Colombia partners who speak out and work for human rights are neither threatened nor harmed.  For more information, contact Danielle Wegman at or 773-293-3680. 


Illinois Representatives


Bobby Rush (D-1st) -Speak with John Marshall (FP), 202-225-4372


Jesse Jackson (D- 2nd) ­ -Speak with Charles Dujon, 202-225-0773


Dan Lipinski (D- 3rd ) -Speak with Keith Devereaux, 202-225-5701


Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) -Speak with Greg Staff (FP), 202-225-8203


Rahm Emanuel (D -5th) -Speak with Luis Jimenez, 202-225-4061


Peter Roskam (R-6th) -Speak with Vicky Sanville, 202-225-4561


Danny Davis (D-7th) -Speak with Charles Brown, 202-225-5006


Melissa Bean (D-8th) -Speak with J.D. Grom, 202-225-3711


Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) -Speak with Robert Marcus, 202-225-2111


Mark Kirk (R-10th) -Speak with Jeff Phillips, 202-225-4835


Jerry Weller (R-11th) -Speak with Alan Tennille, 202-225-3635


Jerry Costello (D-12th) -Speak with Dan McCarthy, 202-225-5661


Judy Biggert (R-13th) -Speak with Paul Doucette, 202-225-3515


Bill Foster (D-14th) -Speak with Peter Judge, 202-225-2976


Timothy Johnson (R-15th) -Speak with Stephen Borg, 202-225-2371


Donald Manzullo (R-16th) -Speak with Nien Su, 202-225-5676


Phil Hare (D-17th)-Speak with Kemi Jemilohun, 202-225-5905


Ray LaHood (R-18th) -Speak with Diane Liesman, 202-225-6201


John Shimkus (R-19th) -Speak with Greta Hanson, 202-225-5271