CPTnet

CPTnet is the news service of CPT, providing daily news updates, reports, reflections, prayer requests and action alerts.

 

COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Memory is resistance

CPTnet
10 February 2017
COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Memory is resistance

 by Katherine Crosby

 

“In spite of all the persecution, today we are still here.”

                      ~ A Social Leader in Colombia

 

Our team arrived in Bogotá and has set up with cameras, hats, banners, drums, and megaphone. We begin our march toward the plaza at the center of the city. I am holding one side of a banner that reaches from above my head down to the ground; it stretches across about three feet to my companion holding the other side. I pause to examine the Colombia shaped black silhouette painted across the fabric. Inside of the map are several white dots of varying sizes, each placed in a different one of Colombia’s departments or provinces. The bold, black number on each dot represents how many social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed in each department since the beginning of 2016: 123 in total.

CPTers stand with a banner: Silencio es violencia

For the past three weeks, our group has been in Colombia as trainees with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 February 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 February 2017

Today, let us celebrate the successful accomplishment of the intensive month-long training for peacemakers that has just ended in Fusagasugá, Colombia. Let us give thanks for the nine wonderful peacemakers from Colombia, Argentina, India, Poland, Australia, Canada and United States who are joining Christian Peacemaker Teams in our worldwide mission to "build partnerships that transform violence and oppression."

Please pray for God's guidance for the new members of the CPT Corps as they discern new commitments with various CPT projects and navigate personal and organizational situations.

Graduates of the CPT training Colombia 2017

Graduates of the CPT training, Colombia 2017

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos January 31- February 6

CPTnet

7 February 2017

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos January 31- February 6

 

Soldiers breach Hebron Protocol

Pictured here: From 9:50pm until 12am five Israeli soldiers entered the H1 area of Hebron, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority according to the Hebron Protocol. On this night they stopped 19 cars, one motorbike and ID checked 21 men. Two of these men were held for one hour and made to stand outside in the cold. The current paratroopers do regular ID checks and car searches, however, entering H1 breaches their own agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Read more...
 
(February 1, 2017)

COLOMBIA: Justice Denied

CPTnet

6 February 2017

COLOMBIA: Justice Denied 

by Kody Hersh 

Mid-January, 2017. I am about two weeks into a month-long stint as a reservist with the CPT Colombia team. I’ve visited the rural community of Guayabo, where campesino farmers and their families and communities have been embroiled in an extensive land claim struggle with the son of a former landowner. Though the actions of the people of Guayabo in defense of their land have been legal and nonviolent, local officials, who have sided with the claimant, Rodrigo Lopez Henao, throughout the process, issued arrest warrants several months ago for four community leaders. One, Álvaro García, was arrested at home at the crack of dawn. After going into hiding for six months, seeking legal help, and building a defense, the remaining three community leaders turned themselves in to the authorities. Most accusations against them were immediately dropped for lack of evidence, and they were allowed to return home until the case is resolved– but Álvaro has been held for eight months now, awaiting charges and a hearing at which his lawyers can petition for his release.

The CPT team has been visiting Álvaro regularly in jail in Barrancabermeja, which is several hours by boat from his family and community, and attending hearings in his case. I join my CPT teammate at a hearing in which Álvaro’s lawyers hope to conclude opening arguments and move closer to the point at which they can request his release. We wait an hour in a cramped reception area: Álvaro, two prison guards, several family and community members, lawyers from a Colombian human rights collective, my teammate and I. Álvaro reaches out with cuffed hands to shake mine when we are introduced. He sings the group a song he’s written in jail about the dignity of campesino work and importance of land justice. Finally the judge calls Álvaro, his guards, and the lawyers into another room. 

My teammate and I wait outside with Álvaro’s friends and family for about two hours, looking out over the city and the Magdalena River from the fourth floor balcony of the court building. Finally, Álvaro emerges, and the guards lead him back out of the building, to return to jail. His main lawyer joins our small group, shakes her head, and explains that completion of that day’s hearing has been postponed two weeks. She asked to continue the hearing within a few days; the judge denied the request.

Justice too long delayed… 

El Guayabo leader

El Guayabo leader, Eric Payares talks to a CPT delegation about their nonviolent resistance.(Caldwell Manners/CPT)

IRAQI KURDISTAN URGENT ACTION: Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan!

IRAQI KURDISTAN URGENT ACTION: Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan

February 3, 2017

Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan
 
Everyone is born with inherent rights. Protecting and promoting Universal Human Rights is essential to building and maintaining peace around the world. The newly autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan is currently unsafe for many activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and members of civil society. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is charged with the safety of all its inhabitants  and the responsibility of safeguarding Universal Human Rights within its borders.  We wish to lift the veil of secrecy around recent killings, beatings  and ongoing attacks on journalists, activists, and members of civil society as well as highlight the seemingly systematic campaign of harassment against those exercising free speech in Iraqi Kurdistan.  We also call upon the Kurdistan Regional Government to actively protect those threatened and pursue parties wishing to harm people exercising their inherent rights within in the region.
The Kurdish Region of Iraq has enjoyed freedom and self-rule governance since the United States invasion of Iraq despite the immense toll the invasion took on people in other areas. However, the Kurdish region is also facing the worst financial crisis in its history. In 2014 the budget was cut by the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Regional Government told its employees that they were unable to pay their salaries. This decision lead to many protests by the governmental workers, especially teachers, demanding that their full salaries be paid and calling for an end to corruption in the public sector. Organizers and teachers peacefully protested for 110 days but beginning in December 2016, the security forces in Sulaimani started using violent means to try to break the teacher’s strike. Many activists and human rights defenders were arrested, beaten, threatened, or had  their property damaged or burnt. Finally, in mid January, 2017, the teachers ended their strike under immense pressure from the security forces. They were assured by the Prime Minister and his deputy no changes would come from the demonstrations. Since the protests ended, the organizers, civil society activists and journalists have faced threats and direct violence. Their families have been terrorized and social media is being used to humiliate them. Along with threats to activists, journalists and religious leaders have also been killed in the region. The government is responsible for its citizens’ security and should respect human rights by creating a space where civil society can act freely to foster and develop a democratic culture in the region without threats, violence and loss of life.