|Sample Letter to the State Department|
Today's Date, 2007
Ambassador Michael Kozak
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St. Washington, DC 20520
Fax: (202) 647-5283
I am writing to express my condemnation of the February 2005 massacre of eight men, women and children in San Jose de Apartado in northwest Colombia. Internationally respected peace leader and co-founder of the San Jose Peace Community, Luis Eduardo Guerra, his son and partner were among the victims; their assassins were identified by witnesses as members of the Colombian military's 17th Brigade. Given allegations of military involvement in this atrocity, I urge the Department of State to withhold certification of assistance to the Colombian military until there is a transparent, impartial investigation and prosecution by civilian authorities of the authors of this massacre. In addition, certification should not be granted until there is effective investigation and prosecution of army officials involved in human rights abuses and greater progress in breaking links between the army and paramilitary forces.
I am especially concerned by President Uribe's statements on March 20, 2005 accusing leaders and defenders of the Peace Community of lending support to the FARC guerrillas. These broad public statements put at risk all residents of San Jose de Apartado, as well as those who accompany them.
Regarding the San Jose de Apartado case, I respectfully urge the State Department to respond through the following actions:
I look forward to hearing back from you on your actions to ensure justice for the peace communities in Colombia. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Thanks to Peace Brigades International Colombia Project for this sample letter.
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011