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CCCB Human Rights Committee: Letter to the President of Colombia, Mr. Alvaro Uribe Velez in View of the Arrest of Mr. Ricardo Esquivia, a Religious Leader and Peace Activist

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Señor Alvaro Uribe Velez
President of Colombia
Cra. 8 N. 7-26
Palacio de Nariño
Bogotá, Colombia

Dear Mr. President:

I write with grave concern for the freedom and human rights of RICARDO ESQUIVIA, a respected church leader and peace activist. Through his partnership with KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Ricardo Esquivia’s Christian commitment to non-violence and his work for peace in Colombia are well-known and appreciated.

Ricardo Esquivia is a member of the Mennonite Church of Colombia and vice president of the Evangelical Council of Churches of Colombia (CEDECOL). He is also director of JUSTAPAZ, the Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Non-violent Action of the Mennonite Church in Colombia. KAIROS supports the human rights and peace work of the CEDECOL and JUSTAPAZ and has contributed financially to this work through its program with the Canadian government’s International Development Agencies (CIDA).

We fear that Colombian authorities are planning to arrest Ricardo Esquivia on fabricated charges that he is a member of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). In the past, Colombian authorities have arrested many other leaders of social movements, unions and NGOs, preventing these organizations from carrying out their legitimate and important work. Such harassment endangers these leaders and contradicts the national and international commitments that the Colombian government has made to recognize human rights.

Given this grave situation, I urge the Colombian government to respect and guarantee the liberty and rights of leaders of social movements and churches involved in the legitimate work of human rights and peace in Colombia. In particular, I call on your government to respect and guarantee the liberty of Ricardo Esquivia.

Sincerely,

+Blaise Morand
Bishop of Prince Albert
Chairman
Human Rights Committee
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Cc The Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Señor Guillermo Mejia Castillo, Chargé d’affairs A.I., Embassy of Colombia


For More Information Contact:
Deacon William Kokesch
Director, Communications Service

 

Last Updated on Thursday, July 27 2006  
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