Afro-Colombian BAP Member's Statement on Gender Violence and Peace to the United Nations Security Council

Afro-Colombian BAP Member's Statement on Gender Violence and Peace to the United Nations Security Council

The following statement was made by Charo Mina-Rojas, a member of the human rights team of the Black Communities’ Process, the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, the Black Alliance for Peace, and the Special High Level Body for Ethnic Peoples, on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Women and peace and security.” The statement highlights the participation of ethnically diverse women in peace negotiations; ensuring the security of human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes. It was originally delivered in Spanish.

I am a woman of African descent, and a peace and human rights activist who has spent half of my life educating and fighting for the cultural, territorial and political rights of Afro-descendant women and our communities and for our free-self-determination. It is an honor and a great responsibility to have been nominated by my global colleagues, to represent today the women and peace and security civil society community at this important debate.

I was extensively involved in the historical Havana peace process between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla group, FARC. Representing the Afro-Colombian National Council for Peace coalition (CONPA), I advocated to ensure that the rights and expectations of Afro-descendant peoples would be part of the Peace Accord that Colombia, and the world, celebrate today. I can speak first hand to the importance of inclusive negotiations and implementation processes, which support the participation of women from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds and are emblematic of the goals and principles of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

Colombia has become a new source of hope because of the comprehensive peace agreement reached. Two provisions were particularly progressive and could bring radical changes to future peace processes around the world: one, the explicit inclusion of a gender perspective as an intersectional principle, and the second, the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter which provides important safeguards to ensure the respect of autonomy and the protection and promotion of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples’ rights from a gender, family and generational perspective. The inclusion of these two specific principles is a historic advancement regarding peace and security that the UN and other countries experiencing violence and armed conflicts could learn from. The Peace Accord was very important for civil society and Indigenous and Afro-descendent people, and we continue to expect the engagement and active participation of women, ethnic groups, and their communities, in its implementation.

Colombia, however, risks wasting this opportunity for peace if it does not completely disarm itself and if the communities most impacted during the internal armed conflict, including women human rights leaders and activists, continue to be ignored in the implementation of the Peace Accord. I am here today to make visible their urgent calls and want to stress that for my people, it is actually a matter of life and death.

There are three urgent priority areas I want to focus on in my statement: participation of ethnically diverse women; ensuring the security for human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes.

First, is ensuring the ongoing participation of women, especially from diverse communities, in all areas relating to the implementation of the Peace Accord. As with women around the world, women in Colombia, and particularly Afro-descendant women, we have been mobilizing for decades to make visible the violations of our rights but also to ensure significant transformations in the way peace and security is approached. My dear sister Rita Lopidia from South Sudan was here last year giving testimony on the importance of South Sudanese women participating in ongoing peace and security dialogues. In Afghanistan, the few women on the High Peace Council need to continue fighting to have their voices heard. In Colombia, there is not a representative of Afro-descendant women on the High Level Body on Gender, the body that was established to oversee the implementation of the agreement’s gender chapter.

As parties to the Peace Accord work with the international community to demobilize FARC fighters, paramilitaries and other armed actors have filled the power vacuum left by FARC forces in many areas in Colombia. This has created an urgent need for local women’s organizations and community leaders to be consulted and participate in the design of local protection strategies to keep our communities safe. The Security Council and international community must support the Colombian government in designing and implementing gender-responsive, community based security and self-protection systems in consultation with Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities. The failure to listen to our security concerns and warnings has had devastating results.

This brings me to my second point, which is the need to guarantee our integral and collective security. Security involves the safety of leaders and communities and the respect and protection of territories and territorial rights. The proliferation of weapons is fueling increased fear and forced displacement among largely Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities and negatively impacting on women’s participation and mobility, as well as resulting in increased sexual and gender based violence. We are alarmed at the increasing number of assassinations and threats to human rights defenders and peace activists across Colombia. For example, in Tumaco, a municipality near the border with Ecuador, urban leaders and members of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, continue to be targeted by paramilitary groups and FARC detractors who seek territorial control in order to grow and sell coca. Just last week, we buried Jair Cortés, the sixth leader killed in that municipality, and we had to urgently move out several women leaders and their families who received death threats.

Sexual and gender-based violence and the stigmatization that comes with it, especially for Indigenous and Afro-descendent women and their children, is also a matter of integral and collective security. The silence around these crimes is as appalling as the crimes themselves. Women activists risk their lives to bring cases before the justice system. There is an urgent need to establish a direct line of communication between Indigenous and Afro-descendent authorities and representatives of women organizations in all mechanisms of the Comprehensive System for Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition to ensure these cases are prioritized, that perpetrators are brought to justice and survivors provided with lifesaving medical and psychosocial services.

Finally, it is crucial that the framework plan for the implementation of the Peace Accord includes specific goals and indicators designed to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner corresponding to the needs, values and rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. It is critical that the Colombian government and its implementation commission (CSIVI) accept and integrate the ethnic perspectives and indicators, including the specific gender ethnic indicators, developed and provided to them by Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations earlier this month. Political will on these indicators is needed, as is to include them in the legal framework of the Peace Accord. They will help effectively transform the war-like conditions preventing the well-being, social development and collective security of Indigenous and Afro-descendent women and our communities.

For Afro-descendant women in Colombia and Indigenous women leaders worldwide ensuring our collective security also means that the principles of free, prior and informed consent; consultation; autonomy; cultural integrity, and meaningful participation are respected and our human rights enshrined in national and international human rights standards are fully promoted and protected. Peace in Colombia and elsewhere, is not simply a matter of ending war and violence but addressing collectively the root causes of conflict including social, gender and racial injustice and promoting the well-being of all people of all races and religions. It is about supporting the efforts of local women activists to demilitarize and disarm our whole societies, and curbing the flow of small arms as prescribed in the Arms Trade Treaty and other legal instruments. It is the responsibility of all actors, including the Security Council, the UN system, regional and sub-regional organizations, and importantly, Member States, to fulfill their obligations. The women, peace and security agenda, if implemented and financially resourced, can be the pathway to peace in my country and around the world, where gender equality, women’s empowerment and protection of women’s rights are central to conflict prevention and sustainable peace.

Thank you.

BAP Member to Address United Nations on Colombia Peace Process

BAP Member to Address United Nations on Colombia Peace Process

Charo Mina-Rojas, a long-time Afro-Colombian activist who has been involved in her country's peace process since the 22-day civil strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, will speak to the United Nations Security Council this month. See the document below for the official statement. Mina-Rojas is also a BAP member and organizes for Proceso de Comunidades Negras.

DOWNLOAD: Statement by MADRE and Proceso de Comunidades Negras

 

BAP Member to Address United Nations-1.jpg
BAP Member to Address United Nations-2.jpg

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Human Rights Activists Call on Colombia to Provide Healthcare, Infrastructure Improvements

Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Human Rights Activists Call on Colombia to Provide Healthcare, Infrastructure Improvements

Peace Process at a Critical Juncture; Began After 22-Day Strike Preventing Millions of Dollars in Exports from Entering Country

Below you will find a letter the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) signed onto. Many of our comrades—from Chris Hedges and Cornel West to CODEPINK and Pan-African Community Action—also have stepped up to demand Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos give in to the demands of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.

PDF of letter in Spanish and English


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To President Juan Manuel Santos and Members of the Commission to Monitor, Promote, and Verify Implementation of Colombia’s Peace Accord (CSIVI)

Dear President Santos and CSIVI Members,

The undersigned gender, racial, social and environmental justice organizations and advocates from around the world applaud the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter and other racial and gender rights measures in Colombia’s Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace. If implemented, these provisions will allow Colombia to set a global example of holistic peacebuilding—one that meaningfully addresses the social inequalities that help fuel conflict. We are, however, deeply concerned about the inadequate consultation with and recognition of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities in peace implementation activities to date, and the ways in which this endangers the lives, security, and territorial and human rights of Afro-Descendant and Indigenous Peoples, including women and girls. We encourage the Government to act in good faith to ensure that Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples’ rights are maintained and furthered in peace implementation.

It is crucial that the framework plan for implementing the Peace Accord contain indicators to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner that corresponds to the needs, values, and rights of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples, including their gender-based rights. These can only be developed with meaningful participation of their respective authorities and organizations. We understand that the Government and CSIVI recently agreed to a work agenda with the Special High-Level Body with Ethnic Peoples for Monitoring Implementation of the Peace Accords to develop and include such indicators and to assign resources and provide conditions for meaningful participation of Afro-Descendant and Indigenous Peoples in implementation. This is positive news, as we believe inclusiveness at the outset of the framework plan will help ensure structural advances for Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples, who have disproportionately born the consequences of the armed conflict, and whose communities suffer the greatest levels of poverty and least access to health and educational infrastructure in Colombia.

While it is cause for hope that the Government and CSIVI agreed to this agenda of work, a broader pattern of exclusion keeps us vigilant. For example, while the Peace Accord requires the Government to include an ethnic and cultural perspective in implementing its Security and Protection Program, the parties have failed to meaningfully consult with and support Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities and communities in the design and implementation of community based self-protection plans, and to ensure adequate security overall in their territories. As FARC fighters demobilized, paramilitaries and other armed actors have filled the remaining power vacuum in many areas, as was predicted by parties to the Accord, which named these actors the “greatest threat” to peace.

The site of the majority of fighting during the conflict, these areas heavily overlap with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous territories. Because of the lack of consultation and ensuing insecurity, entire Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities are again facing displacement, as violence, forced disappearances, attacks on human rights defenders, threats, and kidnappings increase. The forced displacement rate increased in the first half of 2017, as compared with the first half of 2016, with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples comprising 94% of those displaced in the first months of 2017.

Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women and children, who suffered disproportionately high levels of conflict-related gender-based violence, face dramatically increased vulnerability to human rights violations in the face of this ongoing physical and economic insecurity. In light of this, it is concerning that there is no representative of Afro-Colombian women’s organizations on the Special Body to Contribute to Guaranteeing Gender Focus in the Implementation of the Final Accord, despite Afro-Colombian women’s and girls’ disproportionate victimization and lack of access to comprehensive care and restitution.

The lack of consultation also bodes poorly for the Government’s commitment to uphold Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples’ right to give or withhold free, prior and informed consent to laws, policies, and development projects that impact their lives and their territories. It was cause for celebration that the Peace Accord reaffirmed this constitutionally protected right, but history reveals a continued pattern of undermining territorial rights in practice, and megaproject development in Colombia has frequently worsened social, economic and environmental crises in these territories. In the context of implementing key components of peace implementation, such as the Development Programs with a Territorial Focus (PDETs), it appears the Government again risks overriding territorial rights. The National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) has observed that the Land Renovation Agency (ART), which is tasked with implementing the PDETs, has failed to work directly with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities and organizations to develop a methodology that will ensure meaningful, rather than symbolic, participation in forming the PDETs. Meaningful participation is critical for ensuring that PDETs are grounded in Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples’ own aspirations and goals for well-being and development. It is their respective authorities and organizations who are best positioned to devise participation methods.  

Protecting Afro-Colombian and Indigenous People’s territorial and other collective rights is fundamental to ensuring peace in Colombia. In order to fully implement the Ethnic Chapter, it is critical that the parties consult and collaborate with Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples, including women’s organizations, at all stages of peace implementation. By doing so, we believe that Colombia could transform itself, as it heals from decades of conflict, and become a global leader in social justice and environmental protection. The Chapter and related provisions in the Peace Accord are a step in that direction, and they build on Colombia’s other landmark legal norms for racial and gender justice. Towards fully realizing the vision contained in those laws and policies, we urge you to consider the following recommendations:

-In the framework plan for implementation of the Peace Accord, ensure inclusion of indicators designed to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner corresponding to the needs, values, and rights of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples. Develop the indicators in collaboration and consultation with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities, and with women representatives and organizations, and commit the necessary resources for implementing these aspects of the plan.

-Immediately provide security in Afro-Colombian and Indigenous territories, in consultation with their respective authorities and community organizations, in order to prevent violence against them, and to ensure that paramilitaries and other armed actors are investigated and held fully accountable for violence, including gender-based violence. This should include resources for training and strengthening traditional security forces, and should include support for and implementation of a gender perspective.

-Create a line of direct communication between Indigenous and Afro-Colombian authorities and representative organizations, and both the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), and the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition, to adequately address issues facing victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the conflict, and ensure that these bodies prioritize these cases. Ensure data collection includes information disaggregated race, ethnicity and gender.

-Urge the Land Renewal Agency (ART) to meet with Indigenous and Afro-Colombian authorities and representatives, and to develop in consultation with them a strategy to secure full participation and autonomy of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Peoples in formulation and implementation of PDETs.

-Take good-faith, immediate steps to implement and fund all initiatives in the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Accord, and to ensure respect for the fundamental right of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples to free, prior and informed consent regarding any policies or development program impacting their territories.

We thank you for your consideration of these recommendations.

Sincerely,
Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), USA
Black Alliance for Peace, USA
Common Frontiers, Canada
Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic- CUNY School of Law, USA
Just Associates (JASS), USA
MADRE, USA
NORDIK Institute at Algoma University, CANADA
Washington Office on Latin America, USA
African American Human Rights Foundation, USA
Africa World Now Project, USA
AFROAMERICAS Network
ask! - Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz-Kolumbien, Switzerland
The British Columbia Government and Service Employee’s Union, Canada
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canada
Colombia Working Group, Canada
Center for Constitutional Rights, USA
Center for Women's Global Leadership, USA
Community Economic & Social Development Program at Algoma University, Canada
Coalición de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales y Populares de Colombia, Colombia
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
CODEPINK, USA
Colectivo COPERA- Colectivo para eliminar el racismo en México, México
Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance (CASA), Canada
Corporación Colombia Visión Sur, Colombia
Corporación Mamuncia y Cacumen, Colombia
Defenders' Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, USA
Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C., México
Dr. Keith Jennings, President, African American Human Rights Foundation
Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans, AC (DESMI, AC), Mexico
El Comite Noruego de Solidaridad con America Latina, Norway
Environmental Conflicts Observatory (OCA), Institute for Environmental Studies, National University of Colombia, Colombia
Feminist Alliance for Rights, USA
FOKUS-Forum for Women and Development, Norway
Fondo de Acción Urgente para América Latina y el Caribe (Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean), Colombia
Freedom House, USA
Friends of the Congo, USA
Fondo de Acción Urgente para América Latina y el Caribe, Colombia
The Global Justice Center, USA
Green Party of the United States, USA
Grupo de Investigación Ciencia de la Información, Sociedad y Cultura, Pontificia Universidad la Javeriana, Pontificia Universidad la Javeriana, Colombia
Grupo de Investigación "Conflicto, región y sociedades rurales" de la Facultad de Estudios
Ambientales y Rurales, Colombia
Health and Human Rights Info, Norway
Human Rights Advocates, USA
Institute for Gender Research and Documentation, Sierra Leone
Institute of the Black World 21st Century, USA
Instituto de Bioética - Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, USA
KolumbienKampgne, Germany
Latin America Working Group, USA
Latin American & Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), Canada
LIMPAL Colombia, Colombia
M. Adams, Freedom Inc., USA
Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz, Colombia
The Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, USA
More Gardens Fund, USA
National Lawyers Guild, USA
Observatorio de Conflictos Ambientales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Observatorio de Discriminación Racial, Colombia
Observatorio de Territorios Étnicos y Campesinos – Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales de la Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
Organización Living in English Corp - Autoridad Raizal, Colombia
OutRight Action International, USA
Pan-African Community Action
Pax Christi Medellin - Medellin PC, Colombia
Popular Resistance, USA
Rainforest Action Network, Lindsey Allen, Executive Director, USA
Red de Acción e Investigación Antiracista, Americas
Revival of Panafricanism Forum, USA
SAIH – El Fondo de Asistencia Internacional de los Estudiantes y Académicos noruegos, Norway
Santa Clara Law School - International Human Rights Clinic, USA
SHARE Foundation, El Salvador
Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Canada
StopImperialism.org, USA
Taller de Vida, Colombia
UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, USA
US Peace Council, USA
Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, USA
West African Research & Innovation Management Association, Sierra Leone
Young Feminists Network, Nigeria
Ahmed Eltouny, Green Party US International Committee, USA
Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, Ph.D., University of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone
Amanda Romero, Escuela Superior de Administración Pública (ESAP), Colombia
Ana Isabel Rodriguez Iglesias
Andrea Mérida Cuéllar
Angélica J. Afanador-Pujol, Ph.D., Arizona State University, USA
Arlene Eisen, USA
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
Bill Fletcher, Jr., USA
Blaine Bookey, USA
Brad Geyer, USA
Bruce Mannheim, Senior Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, USA
Carlos Agudelo, France
Carlos Andrés Baquero, Colombia
Carmen Anachury Diaz, Colombia
Caroline Yezer, Research Affiliate, Clark University, USA
Chris Hedges, Author and Human Rights Activist
Cornel West, USA
Daniel Kovalik, Associate General Counsel, United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW), USA
Diana Isabel Guiza Gomez, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Divalizeth Murillo, Reporter, USA
Dr. Anthony Gronowicz, 2013 Green Party Candidate for Mayor of New York
Dr. Bronislaw Czarnocha, Hostos CC, City University of New York, USA
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University, United Kingdom
Dr. Pascha Bueno-Hansen, University of Delaware, USA
Dr. Rose Brewer, Black Alliance for Peace, USA
Dra. Rachel Sieder, CIESAS, D.F., México
Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik, Socialist Party Los Angeles Local, USA
Eva Kolodner, Regional Director East, Global Fund for Women, USA
Francisco Mora Villate, Colombia
Ginetta E.B. Candelario, Smith College, USA
Guillermo Alberto Padilla Rubiano, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Hector Lopez, Green Party, USA
Immanuel Ness, USA
Jaime Arocha, Grupo de Estudios Afrocolombianos, Universidad Nacional, Colombia
James Counts Early, Board of Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Jason Berteotti, Green Party of PA, USA
Jean E. Jackson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Jonathan Fox, School of International Service, American University, USA
Joshua Frank, Managing Editor, CounterPunch
Kevin Zeese, Co-Director, Popular Resistance
Lucy Murphy, Art for People, USA
Lynn Stephen, University of Oregon, USA
M Adams, Freedom, Inc, USA
Marcus A. Johnson, City University of New York, Baruch, USA
Margaret Flowers, Co-Director, Popular Resistance
Margarita Huayhua, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA
Margo Okazawa-Rey, Women for Genuine Security and International Women's Network against Militarism, USA
Margi Clarke, SHARE Foundation, El Salvador
Maria Cristina Guerrero, Corporacion Mandiyaco, Colombia
Mary O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Mauricio Sanchez Alvarez, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, México
Maylei Blackwell, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Mayra Johana Tenjo, Rights and Resources, USA
Mesi Walton, Diaspora Dance, USA
Mneesha Gellman, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Emerson College, USA
Olutimehin Adegbeye, Young Feminists Network, Nigeria)
Paige Andrew, WE-Change Jamaica, Jamaica
Patricia Botero Gómez, Docente e investigadora de la Universidad de Manizales, Colombia
Peter Ranis, Professor Emeritus/ Political Science, City University of New York, USA
Prof. Concepción Martinez, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México
Ramiro S. Fúnez, USA
Robert Andolina, USA
Roosbelinda Cardenas, Hampshire College, USA
Amb. Shirley E. Barnes, U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar (Ret.), USA
Tanya Kateri Hernandez, Fordham University School of Law, USA
Tianna S. Paschel, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Virginie Laurent, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
William Lucy, President Emeritus, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Yellen Aguilar-Ararat, P.C.N., Colombia




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For more information:
Ajamu Baraka
National Organizer and Spokesperson
Black Alliance for Peace
info@blackallianceforpeace.com

BAP Calls On Organizations to Support Colombian Peace Process

BAP Calls On Organizations to Support Colombian Peace Process

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) asks peace-minded organizations to sign onto a letter that asks the Colombian government to meet the demands of ordinary Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people.

The letter (links below) asks Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to provide healthcare and infrastructure improvements to the people of the city of Buenaventura.

In May, thousands of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people shut down the port city, preventing millions of dollars of cargo from entering the country. After a 22-day strike, the government agreed to negotiate. However, since then, paramilitary forces have threatened and killed a few people involved.

The Colombian peace process is now at a critical juncture.

That's why we're asking organizations to sign onto the letter below and circulate it among your networks to obtain additional signatures by Friday, September 29.

The letter is available in English and Spanish.

To sign it, email sign-on@madre.org.

 

English letter

Spanish letter

 

Contact:

Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer

Black Alliance for Peace

info@blackallianceforpeace.com

 

Photo credit: Escobar Mora/AFP

 

Join BAP to Oppose Escalation of Afghanistan War

Join BAP to Oppose Escalation of Afghanistan War

September 6, 2017—The Black Alliance for Peace endorses the Week of Action from October 2 to October 8 to oppose the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. That week marks 16 years of U.S-led bombings and military violence in a poverty stricken nation.

See below for a statement from a coalition of anti-war organizations on how to get involved.

For media inquiries, contact Ajamu Baraka at info@blackallianceforpeace.com.

 

U.S. Antiwar Leaders Call for Actions to Oppose the Escalation of the Afghanistan War During the Week of the 16th Anniversary of the Invasion, October 2 - 8.  Join Us.
 

Endorse the Week of action: http://notowar.net/endorse-no-to-war-2017/

Add Your Action to the List of Actions:
http://notowar.net/post-your-action/

For more information:
http://notowar.net/

 

October 6, 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan – the longest foreign war in U.S. history.

The Afghan war, which has been a thoroughly bipartisan effort, was originally railed against by Donald Trump when he was running for president. He claimed to be against U.S. troop involvement in Afghanistan. Now he is moving forward with a “secret” plan of escalation that will also include Pakistan.  He says the secrecy is to keep the “enemy” from knowing his plans, but it also keeps the U.S. people from knowing what he is doing in our name and from judging the human costs for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States

What we do know is that military escalation has repeatedly failed to bring peace in Afghanistan. It has caused more destruction and more deaths of civilians and soldiers alike and has cost trillions of dollars that could be spent on meeting basic needs here at home while repairing the destruction we have carried out abroad.

Trump also emboldens the war machine here in the US against Black and Brown people and immigrants by fanning white supremacy and xenophobia and continuing the militarization of the police and ICE to incite racially-motivated violence and justify repression, including mass incarceration and mass deportations. US wars of aggression and militarism abroad go hand-in-hand with increased state repression and militarization of the police state here at home.

Trump’s new escalation comes at a time when there is no end in sight to the continuous wars, including drone and mercenary warfare, throughout the region and when he is threatening military action against Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran and other countries.

Therefore, we the undersigned antiwar leaders in the U.S. are calling for non-violent protests in cities across the country during the week of the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. We appeal to all antiwar organizations in the United States and around the world to join us.

  • John Amidon, Kateri Peace Conference, VFP
  • Jessica Antonio, BAYAN USA
  • Bahman Azad, US Peace Council
  • Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace
  • Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
  • Toby Blome, Code Pink, Bay Area
  • Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition
  • Reece Chanault, US Labor Against the War
  • Bernadette Ellorin – International League of People’s Struggle
  • Sara Flounders, International Action Center
  • Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Nuclear Power & Weapons in Space
  • Larry Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress
  • Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
  • Ed Kinane, Upstate Drone Action
  • Matthew Hoh – Veterans for Peace
  • Joe Lombardo, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
  • Marilyn Levin, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
  • Judith Bello, Upstate Drone Action
  • Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Alfred Marder, US Peace Council
  • Maggie Martin, About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly IVAW)
  • Ray McGovern, Former CIA Analyst and Presidential Advisor
  • Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace
  • Nick MotternKnowdrones.com
  • Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition
  • Elsa Rassbach, Code Pink & UNAC, Germany
  • Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community
  • David Swanson, World Beyond War
  • Debra Sweet, World Can’t Wait
  • Ann Wright, Code Pink & Veterans For Peace
  • Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
  • Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

 

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Aggression Against North Korea Cease

Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Aggression Against North Korea Cease

September 5, 2017—The Black Alliance for Peace is resolute in its opposition to United States-led imperialism, no matter which nations may be among the targets. We contend no justification exists for U.S. government interference in the affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), better known as North Korea.

President Donald Trump differs from his predecessors only with his intemperate language, threatening “fire and fury” and asserting that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded.”

The corporate media may lampoon his choice of words, but they do not oppose the premise that this country has the right to tell North Korea and every other sovereign nation what it can and cannot do.

Like the United States, North Korea has the right to test and develop as many weapons as it chooses. North Korea does not need another country’s permission to enhance its arsenal. Given the United States’ history of aggression, it would appear wise to do so. Any country deemed an enemy of the United States that does not have a strong defense is in danger of ending up like Iraq or Libya—invaded or destroyed by other means.

The U.S. military is the greatest threat to world peace. With more weapons—nuclear and conventional—than any other nation in the world, the United States is armed with the capacity for complete global destruction multiple times over.

The greatest danger stemming from North Korea’s missile program comes from American reactions to it.

The war party is made up of Democrats and Republicans who were nearly unanimous in passing a bill requiring economic sanctions not just against North Korea, but against Iran and Russia as well.

These countries are guilty of only one thing. They assert their right to exist and to resist American hegemony.

It is the United States that escalates tension with war games that simulate an invasion of North Korea. At the same time that North Korea is labeled a danger, the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system is being installed in South Korea. The THAAD poses a very real threat to peace in the region.

North Korea is not the only country targeted by the United States in this latest crisis. The saber rattling is also directed against China, which like the rest of the world, has great reason to defend itself against Trump and the war party duopoly. While the media helps the United States frighten the American public unnecessarily, none of them will speak simple truth. The truth is the United States doesn't have to do anything about North Korea. America is not exceptional, nor is it indispensable. It should not have more rights than other nations and should not be allowed to threaten the world with destruction.

One would not know it from reading major American newspapers, but voices of reason exist around the world. Most American reporters and op-ed writers seem to see North Korea as a problem to be solved instead of as a nation to be engaged in a serious and respectful manner. They deliberately obscure the history of America’s near destruction of North Korea from 1950 to 1953 and the fact that the truce never ended the war between the north and south on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea is considered a bogeyman whether it tests missiles or not. It has been accused of everything from hacking into the Sony corporation computer systems to creating new malware viruses. Its president, Kim Jong-un, is treated like a joke or a demon. He appears to have chosen what seems to be the only defense he has at his disposal—to make America think twice about attacking his country.

The media may call North Korea a “rogue” nation, but that designation belongs to the United States. The United States has more than 1,000 military facilities around the globe. It spends more money on defense than any other country and has more conventional and nuclear weapons than any other nation. This should not be normalized. Yet it is.

This monstrous situation did not begin with Donald Trump. It has been building for decades as the United States became the world’s only superpower. Every American president exceeds the violence committed by predecessors and there is consensus among the politicians and punditry that “might makes right.” That is a patriarchal-white-supremacist-capitalist logic embodied in a national identity. The target may be North Korea or China or Russia or Iran or Iraq or Syria or Somalia. Regardless, the apparent goal of the United States’ global policy is for Full Spectrum Dominance, a doctrine which brings horrific conflict closer to reality.

Trump’s rhetoric may be more dangerous, but he is just the latest American president to make unilateral threats of nuclear attack.

Yet, the United States is not the only one that can assert its strength. The Chinese government has made clear that it will not stand by and allow the United States to attack North Korea. China’s ability to defend its ally is real. The pundits and politicians who utter words just as dangerous as Trump’s are equally culpable in bringing the world to the brink of multi-national conflict and casualties.

People who say they want peace, claim to be anti-fascist, and speak against white supremacy and patriarchy, must stand with North Korea against threats from the United States. The Black Alliance for Peace joins with people of conscience all over the world in condemning America’s aggressions and threats of aggression against North Korea and every other nation. 

Hands Off North Korea!

No to U.S. Military Exercises Against North Korea and China!

Remove THAAD Missiles and U.S. Bases from South Korea!

 

For media inquiries, contact Ajamu Baraka: info@blackallianceforpeace.com

 

Photo credit: Defense Ministry/Yonhap/via REUTERS

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Trump Administration Intent to Hyper-Militarize State and Local Law Enforcement

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Trump Administration Intent to Hyper-Militarize State and Local Law Enforcement

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) condemns the announcement today by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions before a gathering of the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP) that the administration of President Donald Trump intends to remove the restrictions on the government’s 1033 Program—transfer of deadly military grade equipment to local and state police forces.

According to BAP national organizer Ajamu Baraka, "Since President Barack Obama's administration’s so-called restrictions were merely a publicity stunt that had no measurable impact on the flow of deadly weapons going to police forces, the Trump administration’s announcement is intended to send another public message—that it intends to make war on Black and Brown people in the United States.”

Jeff Sessions claimed in Monday’s speech that the Trump administration “is rescinding restrictions from the prior administration that limited your agencies; ability to get equipment through federal programs.” However, we at BAP understand this order is meant as yet another green light for increased repression and brutality against Black and Brown working class and poor communities.

Therefore, BAP demands that an immediate halt to the racist, repressive 1033 Program and a suspension of all transfers of military grade equipment to local and state police that are currently being processed.

Furthermore, we specifically call on members of the Congressional Black Caucus (the "conscience of Congress”), and all progressive-minded congressional representatives, to take a public stand against all aspects of the 1033 Program.

The 1033 Program evolved out of the 1990 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)'s original authorization to facilitate the transfer of surplus military grade weaponry to state and local police forces as part of the federal government's so-called "War on Drugs." In the 1997 NDAA, the authorized transfer was named the 1033 program and it was expanded to include counter-terrorism. It has been largely responsible for the militarization of police forces across the nation as a result of over $5.4 billion worth of equipment being transferred to state and local police agencies.

Pressure from some members of Congress and demands from various organizations associated with the Black Lives Matter movement led to the Obama Administration placing some restrictions on a small class of equipment. But the flow of deadly equipment did not stop. In fact, according to the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which oversees the transfers, the value of the equipment reaching state and local police agencies actually increased the year after the restrictions were imposed.

It is clear that this “domestic weapons supply” program was never meant only to fight drugs or terrorism, but to contain and control Black and Brown bodies victimized by the rapacious consequences of a racist, capitalist order that has rendered whole sectors of the U.S. population disposable.

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Contact: Ajamu Baraka, info@blackallianceforpeace.com

 

Photo credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

Black Alliance for Peace Calls on the United States to End Its War in Afghanistan

Black Alliance for Peace Calls on the United States to End Its War in Afghanistan

August 22, 2017—Once the Trump administration concluded its analysis of the war in Afghanistan, it had an opportunity to announce a sensible solution to the longest war in U.S. history by calling on all parties to the conflict to enter into serious discussions to create a process for national reconciliation and peace.

Instead, the administration committed the United States to an endless war in Afghanistan with no clear criterion for what the administration would define as a “win.” Moreover, by suggesting that the administration will curry favor with India—Pakistan’s bitter rival—in order for it to play a role in solving the conflict in Afghanistan amounts to a dangerous and cynical ploy that could inflame the already tense relations between the two nuclear-armed nations.

 

TAKE ACTION: Join BAP for the Week of Action opposing the escalation of this war.

 

President Donald Trump’s call for support to increase military spending was a crude and opportunistic rationalization for endless war and the squandering of the nation’s precious resources, including the lives of its young.

The policies of this administration reflect the U.S. oligarchy’s continued commitment to use military force to advance its interests throughout the world. Members of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) understand that U.S. policymakers see the continued presence of the United States in Afghanistan as a strategy to counter the growing cooperation between China and the Russian Federation on the Chinese “silk road” project.

We also know that U.S. capitalists have their eyes on newly discovered and untapped mineral reserves of iron, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium estimated at a value of over $1 trillion. This increases Afghanistan’s value for the U.S. corporate and financial sector, which has no problem sending young people off to die for its narrow interests.

With the bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to increase the military budget by $75 billion—a figure that represents more than the entire military budget of the Russian Federation—it is no longer accurate to characterize this grotesque proposal as Trump’s idea.

The commitment to Full Spectrum Dominance has always had bipartisan support, but Democrats and their liberal allies have been able to present its militarism as somehow more benevolent than the Republicans’. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the world’s dominant global power, the commitment to maintain U.S. hegemony and its predatory form of capitalism known as neoliberalism has always been a bipartisan objective.

Before he even ran for president, Trump questioned the wisdom of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, seeing it as a lost cause that wasted resources and lives. Now as president, Trump has a different take. Joining the last two presidents before him, he adopted the agenda of military-industrial elites who see the necessity for a permanent U.S. presence in the country, resulting in the United States and its NATO partners establishing nine permanent military bases in the country.

The United States—as part of the U.S./EU/NATO axis domination—has been responsible for unspeakable acts of violence in every part of the world, with most of the victims of U.S. state violence being the non-European peoples of the world.

In an obscene testament to U.S. vanity and the psychopathological commitment to global white supremacy, billions of dollars have already been wasted, almost three thousand U.S. lives lost and over 100,000 non-U.S. lives have been taken.

It is time to admit defeat in Afghanistan and bring the war to an end. Justice and common sense demands that the bloodletting stop.

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For more information, contact:

Ajamu Baraka

National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace

info@blackallianceforpeace.com

 

TAKE ACTION: Join BAP for the Week of Action opposing the escalation of this war.

 

Philando Castile, Charleena Lyles and the Body Count in the U.S. War Against Black People Continues

Philando Castile, Charleena Lyles and the Body Count in the U.S. War Against Black People Continues

Before we can even process the acquittal of the murder of Philando Castile, we hear about another murder of a black person by the police occupation forces.  This time the victim, Charleena Lyles, is a black woman who was also five months pregnant.

Again, there is anger, confusion and calls for justice from the black community of Seattle, where the latest killing took place. Many might remember that it was in Seattle where two members of the local black community attempted to call out the racist and hypocritical liberal white community during a visit by Bernie Sanders. The black activists were subsequently shouted down by a majority of Bernie’s supporters.  One of the issues that the activists wanted to raise was the repressive, heavy-handed tactics of the Seattle Police Department.

Some have argued that this rash of killings of black people caught on video or reported by dozens of witnesses is nothing new, that the images of police chocking, shooting and beating poor black and working-class people is now more visible because of technological innovations that make it easier to capture these images. They are partially right.

As an internal colony in what some refer to as a prison house of nations that characterizes the U.S. nation state, black communities are separated into enclaves of economic exploitation and social degradation by visible and often invisible social and economic processes. The police have played the role not of protectors of the unrealized human rights of black people but as occupation forces. In those occupied zones of repression, everyone knows that the police operate from a different script than the ones presented in the cop shows that permeate popular entertainment culture in the U.S. In those shows, the police are presented as heroic forces battling the forces of evil, which sometimes causes them to see the law and the rights of individuals as impediments. For many viewers, brutality and other practices is forgiven and even supported because the police are supposedly dealing with the evil irrational forces that lurk in the bowels of the barrios and ghettos in the imagination of the public. 

It was perfectly plausible for far too many white people in the U.S. that a wounded Mike Brown, already shot and running away from Darren Wilson the cop who would eventually murdered Michael, would then turn around and run back at Wilson, who claim he had no other choice but to engulf Michael in a hail of bullets killing this “demon” as Wilson described him. And unfortunately, many whites will find a way to understand how Charleena, who called the police herself to report a burglary, would then find herself dead at the hands of the police she called.

But the psychopathology of white supremacy is not the focus here. We have commented on that issue on numerous occasions. The concern is with some black people who have not grasped the new conditions that we find ourselves in—that black people don’t understand that there will never be justice as defined by the cessation of these kinds of killings.  Why? Because incarceration, police killings, beatings, charging our children as adults and locking them away for decades, all of these are inherent in the logic of repression that has always characterized the relationship between the U.S. racist settler-state and black people. 

In other words, if Black people really want this to stop we have to come to the difficult conclusion, for some, that the settler-colonial, capitalist, white supremacist state and society is the enemy of black people and most oppressed people in the world. Difficult for many because it means that Black people can no longer deny the fact that we are not equal members of this society, that we are seen as the enemy and that our lives, concerns, perspectives, history and desires for the future are of no concern to the rulers of this state and for vast numbers of ordinary whites.

That is why Charleena Lyles joins Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Philando Castile, just a few of the names of our people victimized in the prime of their lives by the protectors of white power wearing police uniforms.

She will not be the last. 

The logic of neoliberal capitalism has transformed our communities and peoples into a sector of the U.S. population that is no longer needed. This new reality buttressed by white supremacist ideology that is unable to see the equal value of non-European (white) life has created a precarious situation for black people, more precarious, than any other period in U.S. history.

African (Black) people are a peaceful people and believe in justice.  But there can be no peace without justice. For as long as our people are under attack, as long as our fundamental collective human rights are not recognized, as long as we don’t have the ability to determine our own collective fate, we will resist, we will fight, and we will create the conditions to make sure that the war being waged against us will not continue to be a one- sided conflict.   

The essence of the People(s)-Centered Human Rights framework is that the oppressed have a right to right to resist, the right to self-determination, and the right to use whatever means necessary to protect and realize their fundamental rights.

Charleena, we will say your name and the names of all who have fallen as we deliver the final death-blow against this organized barbarism known as the U.S.

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For more information, contact:

Ajamu Baraka

National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace

info@blackallianceforpeace.com

An End to the Civic Strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, Marks a New Beginning

An End to the Civic Strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, Marks a New Beginning

This is a statement from BAP member Charo Mina-Rojas, who is based in Calí, Colombia:

Greetings everyone.

I'm happy to inform that the Civic Strike in Buenaventura has reached an agreement with the national government and the strike has been suspended.

This is a major and historical moment not only for the people in Buenaventura but for Black movement and people in Colombia. The strike demonstrated to racist Colombians and Colombian government that for years have been indifferent to the suffering of centuries of racism, exclusion, abject poverty and state sanctioned and non-state violence, that Black people had reached a point where no more would be tolerated.

The agreement has four important components:

  1. The creation of a special autonomous fund with resources that are consider patrimony of the people in Buenaventura, coming from 50% of the taxes from the business and companies that profit from activities related to the port, plus $76 million dollars that the government will raise from credits with international banks, regulated by a law that should be signed in a month.
  2. A initial investment of COP$1.500 billions to address the immediate needs for basic infrastructure for water, health and sanitation services in rural and urban areas.
  3. An integrated development plan for the city that includes certain institutional reforms and effective community participation with objective to make of Buenaventura a port for the people and not simply for profit.
  4. The proper investigations and penalization for the abuses and human rights violations committed by state forces, guaranties for those who has been criminalized and ensuring security and protection for the many leaders that guided the 22 days of peaceful, organized and successful struggle.

In the name of the people in resistance in Buenaventura, in the name of the Black Communities' Process in Colombia (PCN) and me, thank you for your unconditional fraternal solidarity. Your participation helped to put the pressure and ensure that an action that main stream media was eager to minimize and ignore got international attention, interest and support.

Although it has been a historic victory, this is not the end. These agreements can be easily ignored by the Colombian government. Also, some in government and in civil society have condemned the Buenaventura leaders for the significant loss of money that resulted from the strike. We certainly expect that for those individuals, many connected to the paramilitary elements that are still present in our communities, that this expression by the people will not be forgotten.  That is in many ways the Colombian way.  But we will not be deterred. With your help, we will continue to struggle for self-determination for ourselves, but also on behalf of all who are resisting oppression and struggling for new societies.

Things you can do now:

- Issue a statement in support of the people of in Buenaventura. Recognize them for their strength and courage, but also the level of political clarity and organization that made the strike successful.

- Continue condemning the violent repression and violations that were committed by the state forces and ask Colombian authorities to ensure proper investigation and penalization of the ESMAD as whole. There is not point on looking for individuals, the ESMAD as part of police institution committed serious violations of human rights and humanitarian provision, abusing its responsibility to provide security and instead creating a war-like situation against unarmed civilians, particularly in neighborhoods at night when people was sleeping. Reports from the Strike's human rights committee counted 209 children severely affected by tear gas, and still counting.

- Condemn the negligent response of president Juan Manuel Santos who could have controlled the ESMAD excesses. Remind him of his duty as a Nobel Peace Prize winner and head of a peace-building process that the whole world is watching.

- We will still be in need for translations and organizing brief reports on writing, audio and video. There are a number of people, including me, that are available for interviews in Spanish and English. Much still needs to be said about the Buenaventura strike.

- Consider organizing visits to Buenaventura for monitoring purposes, and stay informed about the developments of the agreement.

- I will be in the United States, mostly in the south from June 16 to July 4. Consider organizing conversations with your community, radio talks or any other opportunity to educate people about the struggle in Colombia. I will be happy to accommodate to the best of my possibilities while there. If you would like to bring me to your community, please send a message to info@blackallianceforpeace.com

- If possible, those with the knowledge, help us to thank the Orishas for protecting and guiding the people and leaders in Buenaventura, and pray for their safety.

This is a time for moving from fraternal solidarity to broader movement building with common agendas for the liberation and self-determination of Black people. We are one people. My struggle is your struggle.

Thank you very much from our hearts.

The struggle continues.

Charo Mina-Rojas, Proceso de Comunidades Negras

Afro-Colombian Representative to Update International Community on Massive Black Resistance Movement in Colombia

Afro-Colombian Representative to Update International Community on Massive Black Resistance Movement in Colombia

CALI, Colombia—Over the last week Black organizations in Colombian have been engaged in a massive “civic strike” and resistance. The strike and ongoing mobilizations in Buenaventura, the country’s main port city, and the department of Choco was fueled by the ongoing human rights crisis that includes continued violence by paramilitary forces directed at black organizers and communities, lack of basis governmental services such as an uninterrupted supply of water, inadequate housing, forced displacement, police brutality and land thefts. 

Buenaventura was shut down along with its port resulting in the loss of millions of pesos for the government. Instead of dialog with the people, the response from the government was to unleash ESMAD (National Security Forces) in an effort to open up the port and suppress the mobilizations that have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in Buenaventura and in Choco.

Now that the peaceful mobilizations are being violently repressed by the state, representatives of various black organizations including the Afro-Colombian National Council of Peace are calling on the international community to call for an end to the repression and a dialog with the communities to address the demands of the people.

Charo Mina-Rojas, a member of the national leadership and international coordinator of the Black Community Process and Afro-Colombian National Council of Peace as well as a member of the Ethnic Commission is available to discuss the situation in Colombia.

According to Charo Mina-Rojas, “it is important for the international community to understand, and especially the black communities of the U.S. because of the support the Colombian government receives from the U.S., that the peace process touted by Colombian President Juan Santos in his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump has not resulted in peace or security for Black people in Colombia.  

For more information see: https://afrocolombian.org/ - https://blackallianceforpeace.com/
###

 

Press Availability

Contact: Charo Mina-Rojas

57 314 370 8931

charominarojas@gmail.com

@AfroColombians

Peaceful Strikers Are Still Being Attacked by Armed Police in Buenaventura, Colombia, But the People Won't Give Up!

Peaceful Strikers Are Still Being Attacked by Armed Police in Buenaventura, Colombia, But the People Won't Give Up!

Written by BAP member Esther Ojulari:

“I know you’re fighting a just cause…We go all round the country and we see people fighting just causes all the time…But this is our job…our role here is to attack, so that’s what we do.”

These were the words my friend was told when he engaged in conversation the other night with an agent of the ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron) on the streets of Buenaventura, Colombia, in the context of the ongoing civic strike.

The mainly Afro-descendant and indigenous community of Buenaventura on the Pacific Coast of Colombia has been on a civic strike now for 16 days. 16 days in which business, banks, shops and schools have been closed down and taxis and buses have stopped working to demand that the national government fulfils is basic human rights obligations to its citizens.   

The demands of the strike are clear. Due to the desperate human rights situation which the community faces in Buenaventura, the Strike Committee called for the National Government to adopt a State of Social, Economic and Ecological Emergency in accordance with article 215 of the 1991 Colombian Constitution.  This declaration would commit the government to providing within 30 days (90 days with extension) sufficient funds to address urgent issues in the city; basic and fundamental human rights which are seriously lacking, such as clean drinking water, a hospital with tertiary level health care, adequate sewage systems, quality and culturally relevant education institutions, and reparations for victims of violence, conflict and injustice. The Civic Strike Committee has been in and out of talks with the government for two weeks and the government has so far refused to meet the demands of the strikers.

Meanwhile day after day up to 200,000 strikers have taken to the streets marching or congregating in collective meeting points along the main Avenida 6o  (6th Avenue) and the Via Alterna Interna  (ring road) which both lead from the outskirts of Buenaventura to the city centre, and Colombia’s most important international port.  The strikers protest at the injustice of neoliberal economic policies which leave a city of over 500,000 people without basic public services, infrastructure and human rights, while the profits from tens of billions of dollars of imports and exports each year line the pockets of private owners.  

The meeting points, consisting of open-air tents and sound systems, in which strikers peacefully resist this economic model, though cultural traditions of music, singing, dancing, storytelling, banging pots and pans and chanting for basic human rights, have a another function; preventing the cargo trucks, from entering and leaving the city. This is a historical and monumental form of resistance, not only to Colombia’s economic model, but to the wider global economic system, as a small group of determined protestors block one of the most strategic international ports for trade between Latin America and Asia.  The response from the state has been has been violent, brutal and repressive.

Since the 19th March the ESDMAD have been present in the city, and backed up by the police, military and undercover police operations, has rained down on strikers firing not only tear gas but on several occasions fire arms. Tear gas has repeatedly been fired at residential areas and in particular into the most vulnerable communities where it easily enters into Buenaventura’s traditional casas de palafitos (wooden houses on stilts) causing asphyxiation for babies and young children, many of whom have been rushed to the clinic on the backs of motorbikes in the early house of the mornings. Night after night the ESMAD has torn down meeting points to make way for the cargo trucks that enter and leave the city just before dawn.

Last night was a particularly bad night. We arrived at the Sabrosuras meeting point in El Dorado barrio shortly before midnight after reports of earlier attacks by the ESMAD. As we arrived we were greeted by at least 150 strikers, men, women, and children, chatting, drinking coffee, singing along to music. All was quiet for a couple of hours, but then at around 2am we got news from a meeting point further along the road that the ESMAD were on their way back.

Groups of young strikers prepared to defend themselves and the meeting point, committed to preventing the trucks from passing. They strengthen the makeshift road blocks of tree branches, tires and planks of wood, and set up shields made from billboards several hundred metres from the official meeting point were people of all ages were still gathered. From our vantage point we could see the public security forces slowly advancing, first a battering tank to take out the road blocks, then an ESMAD tank followed by ESMAD agents on foot, and behind them several policemen on motorbikes and more tanks, trucks and cars.  It felt like an army had been sent to overpower a couple of hundred unarmed protestors, with nothing but stones for self-defence.  

The first encounter was brief, the battering tank took out the road blocks in a matter of seconds and the ESMAD began firing tear gas scattering the protestors into the nearby streets. The convoy thundered on, creaking and moaning under the weight of so metal armour, easily reaching and passing the tents of the meeting point.  For a short time after they passed and continued down the road there was relative silence as protestors wearily made their way back to the main road. Then more ESMAD trucks and agents arrived and a two-hour confrontation ensued between ESMAD and a hundred or so mainly young people.

When the attack finally calmed down, the dust settled and most of the protestors had been scattered the cavalry arrived.  The raison d'être for all this violence. First an ESMAD tank, then police cars, then a line of 20 or so police on bikes ceremoniously ushered a procession of no less than 50 cargo trucks into the city. One after one the trucks thundered by as outraged bystanders shouted angrily at the drivers and ESMAD agents point blank shot tear gas at anyone who looked like they might try to stop the neoliberal caravan of profit as it made its way to the port.

The ESMAD hung around well after the trucks had passed through, still shooting the odd tear gas canister, revealing their immaturity as they hid behind walls, clearly enjoying playing at war while the city’s residents walked the streets attempting to go about their morning activities in peace.  Except it wasn’t a game and the scene really resembled one of occupation and war.  When the ESMAD finally moved out strikers and bystanders gathered on the sidewalks to mockingly cheer and clap the national heroes. The agents responded with equal scorn, taunting the crowds, laughing and putting their thumbs in the air.

The confrontations at El Dorado and Independencia barrios didn’t end there, they continued well into the morning, even as the Civic Strike Committee organised and planned for the day’s cultural activity, a march from El Dorado and other meeting towards the Isla de la Paz barrio located near the Via Alterna Interna.

Yes. Last night was a particularly bad night. There were numerous injuries from tear gas and a further six fire arms injuries confirmed so far.  Evidence was gathered and shared by strikers of empty tear gas canisters, bullets from army rifles, photos of armed, plain clothed officers in the crowds and videos of the ESMAD advancing and firing tear gas at the unarmed strikers and at the houses in the nearby streets. The voice of one young woman carried across the wind as she called from a balcony in a building engulfed with tear gas a few streets away, repeating over and over “murderers, murderers, you are killing us, murderers.”

As the strikes entered their 16th day in Buenaventura, and the Committee prepared for the arrival of government ministers this morning to present their reformed demands, the call they have been making for weeks for the government to remove the ESMAD forces and end the violence on the streets and in the communities of Buenaventura resonated more strongly than ever. For how can we negotiate agreements in the middle of a war? The continued presence of the ESMAD, who in their own words, are here to “attack,” has made it impossible to negotiate a truly peaceful end to the strike, and demonstrates that the government has little intention of respecting the demands and rights of the community and is farm more concerned about protecting the private interests of the port.

Nevertheless, in the face of an indifferent government the people of Buenaventura have stayed strong and committed to this people-centred human rights and political process. As the dialogues commenced in the afternoon of the 16th day, the community of Buenaventura continued to assert their right to march, strike and protest in the streets, to demand their fundamental human rights and to chant day after day and night after night that “el pueblo no se rinde carajo!” the people won’t give up!

National Strike Begins in Buenaventura

National Strike Begins in Buenaventura

The city of Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific coast is home to the country’s main international port through which billions of dollars of imports and exports pass every year. Yet due to decades of abandonment form the government, the mainly Afrodescendant and indigenous community of Buenaventura does not have access to adequate health services, education or running water. Further, neoliberal development projects to expand the port threaten the very existence of communities as traditional fishing livelihoods are destroyed and whole communities violently displaced from their ancestral lands. 

Since last Tuesday 16th May the community of Buenaventura (along with communities in the Chocó region of Colombia) has been on general strike demanding that the government fulfils basic human rights to water, education, health, culture, land and freedom from racism and violence.  Businesses were closed, road blocks were set up at several points along the main road and peaceful protestors chanted, sang, danced and banged cooking pots to call attention to the desperate situation. On the first day along the Chamber of Commerce reported the strikes had caused up to 10,000 million pesos (about $3.5 million USD) in losses. 

For three days there was a sense of joy and hope as the Civic Strike Committee entered into discussions with the government. But unfortunately due to lack of consensus the discussions were suspended and on Friday 19th the national government sent the ESMAD (riot squad) to repress the protestors and violently remove the road blocks. The crowds and communities were attacked with tear gas throughout the day and into the night of the 19th causing numerous injuries.  Tragically in the community of Punta el Este, located at the end of Buenaventura’s main bridge to the port and city centre, Puente Piñal, a baby was suffocated from the gas causing outrage and indignation throughout the community. The ESMAD had one aim here, to open the road for the trucks to leave the port and allow the global capitalist machine to clunk back into action. Once again private business interests were prioritised over the lives of the black and indigenous community. 

On Saturday the government installed a prohibition on public demonstrations and a curfew in response to looting of supermarkets by some people, although many have claimed these actions were instigated by outside forces.  Nevertheless the peaceful protestors have remained firm in their objectives and calls for a satisfactory response to their demands. On the 20th March over 30,000 people put on white shirts and marched to the city centre to demonstrate that the strike would go on, and on the 21st, National day of Afro-Colombian Heritage, we estimate that up to 200,000 marched to the outskirts of the city. Up to 200 people have been detained by the authorities accused of participating in looting and rioting and while the freedom of some has now been secured many have ongoing legal processes. 

Today as the Committee returns to discussions with the government the people of Buenaventura continue to strike and continue to march under the calls “el pueblo no se rinde carajo” (the people won’t give up…), and “pueblo unido, jamás será vencido” (a united people will never be defeated). 

In solidarity with the struggling people of Black Colombia and in defence of fundamental human rights, the Black Alliance for Peace calls on the people in the United States to sign the petition below, but also to circulate information on this situation through your networks since it is being “whited out” by the corporate press.

We are also asking that you send statements of solidarity to charominarojas@gmail.com and sign this petition: Solidarity with the Civic Strike in Btura/Soliaridad con el Paro Civico en Buenaventura

Ultimatum to the National Government Regarding a Humanitarian Crisis and the Lack of Inclusion of Afrodescendents in Peace Accords

Ultimatum to the National Government Regarding a Humanitarian Crisis and the Lack of Inclusion of Afrodescendents in Peace Accords

BOGOTA—The National Afrocolombian Peace Council (CONPA) sends a greeting to the Colombian people, and in particular, a greeting of life, happiness, freedom to our sisters and brothers in resistance in the port city of Buenaventura and in the Choco region.

We thank the media present here for responding to our call, on the eve of the celebration of the Day of AfroColombianity, May 21.

The Black, Afrocolombian, Raizal and Palequero in Colombia are living through a historical and systematic situation of exclusion and racism, which, during these days, has developed into a humanitarian crisis and threatens our very existence. In April of this year, according to our communities, there have been new occurrences of mass displacement, as well as forced confinements, which affect thousands of our families; new assassinations, disappearances, kidnappings and denunciations related to the reappearance of armed groups in the lower San Juan, upper Baudo and Rio Sucio, Carmen del Darien in the department of Choco, in Southern Bolivar, in rural and urban zones of Tumaco and in Northern Cauca, areas where this is a concentration of the FARC.

In the territories, we continue to find mutilated and tortured bodies, we continue to live through combat and armed harassment, threats, arbitrary detention, we suffer attacks and killings of community leaders, forced urban recruitment and recently we have been receiving threats against our sons and daughters, with the message that if they are found outside of the house after 6 in the evening, they will be raped and killed.

In face of this situation of secular neglect and noncompliance of State obligations, lack of recognition for, as well as protection and advancement of our rights, and in the face of economic policies and megaprojects that are being imposed in our territories which continue being factors of plundering and impoverishment of our people, the civic strikes have been organized in the department of Choco and in the port of Buenaventura. These will continue into other areas in order to continue to call for the attention of the State.

The celebration of the Day of Afrocolombianity reminds us of the actions taken for enforcement of our rights, initiated by our ancestors, and which we continue to advance with strong will for the construction of peace.

Mister President Juan Manuel Santos, and representatives of Congress, as a way of advancing our rights, CONPA proposes:

  • To work with a Normative Framework that covers all issues and topics necessary for the implementation of the 29 agreements contained in the Ethnic Chapter, together with the peoples represented through the High Level Body created by the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Accords
  • A guarantee for the establishment of a special fund for the implementation of the accords in Black territories and communities

  • A guarantee that the fundamental right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent will not be regulated via the fasttrack process.

  • Implementation of a route for participation, as agreed upon with the government within framework of the National, Campesina, Ethnic and Popular Minga and the strike in Choco, and which guarantees compliance with the agreements that are reached with the government with the Civic Strike of Buenaventura also related to the expedition, this coming 27 of August of 2017, the regulated decrees for Law 70 of 1993.

  • Formulation, in collaboration with the people, their authorities and organizations, of a specific and differentiated policy for the eradication and substitution of illicit crops that covers collective and ancestral territories of Ethnic Peoples.

  • Inclusion of San Basilio de Palenque in the Territory Focussed Development Plans (PDETs)

  • A guarantee of the conditions for the updating of the Integral and Long Term Development Plan for Black, Afrocolombian, Raizal and Palequero people, in a participatory way, and based on consultation, and that this is converted into the Plan for the Afrodescendant Decade, guaranteeing the resources assigned yet not implemented in the 2014-2017 plan are reintegrated and added to this current Plan.

  • A guarantee that in the High Level Body for Gender of the Peace Process, there is full participation of Indigenous and Afrodescendant women, to guarantee a ethnic-racial gender perspective

  • That necessary measures are taken to ensure that the established institutional mechanisms, or those yet to be established, for the implementation of the peace accords, are based on consultation, guaranteeing the participation of ethnoterritorial Indigenous and Afrodescendant authorities, towards the compliance of its functions and protocols.

We would like to take this opportunity to make public the invitation, this 25th of May, Day for the Dignity of Victims of Sexual Violence, to participate in a symbolic act, where Afrodescendant women will make public 1,000 cases of sexual violence against Afrodescendant women in the framework of the armed internal conflict, and to recognize the T-622 Court Decision of November 10, 2016, that recognizes the Atrato River as a subject of rights.

As Afrodescendant people, we are living a humanitarian crisis that threatens our very existence as peoples. The Civic Strikes in Choco and Buenaventura, and those that are to come, are a response to State neglect. If, within 30 days, there are no significant advances, we will seek out the international community and agencies that are following what is happening regarding peace in this country, peace which has become a reference point for the world.

Afrocolombian National Peace Council - CONPA

Press conference – video (in Spanish) https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=6WJP3e3_pUA& feature=youtu.be

 #VamosPuebloCarajo

Joint Statement on Venezuela by Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

Joint Statement on Venezuela by Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

 The United States has been conducting a brutal, 20-year-long campaign of destabilization against Venezuela in an attempt to cause “regime change” in that country.  This has taken the form of economic sabotage and financial manipulation as well as support for the mobilization of right-wing forces in increasingly violent demonstrations.

 

This is not a recent policy but one that has also been carried out under the Obama and Bush administrations as well as the present Trump administration.  In 2002, right-wing forces inside Venezuela attempted a coup against then-President Hugo Chavez. Many sources have confirmed that the U.S. gave the go-ahead to the opposition to orchestrate the coup and promised support.  Soon after the coup, the people of Venezuela turned out in the streets in massive numbers and restored Chavez to the presidency.

 

Barack Obama continued the assault on the Venezuelan revolution by imposing crippling sanctions and asserting that Venezuela was a “security threat” to the United States. These attacks from the U.S. exemplify attempts to realize full-spectrum dominance, the epitome of imperialist intervention which has brought so much suffering to the world.

 

Some of the very same opposition leaders who were involved in the 2002 coup attempt are today behind the present unrest, which has seen well-financed opposition forces leading violent protests against the government of Nicolas Maduro.  The U.S. corporate media has reported on these actions but has blamed the violence on the Venezuelan government and has not reported the huge mobilizations in defense of the Maduro government.

 

Now a bipartisan bill has been submitted in the Senate (S.1018) with the intention of further destabilizing Venezuela.  For more information on this bill and some actions you can take to oppose it, please go to http://afgj.org/take-action-today-to-support-venezuelas-democracy.

 

The economic crises in Venezuela is severe.  The Venezuelan economy is dependent on its large oil resources.  The oil has been nationalized since 1976, but there has been a continual push from U.S. interests as well as wealthy Venezuelans to privatize it.  Though the oil remains nationalized, the refining, transportation, and markets are all private and have been used to undercut the ability of the oil industry to support the economy.  Additionally, in the past few years, with the encouragement of Wall Street, oil production around the world has been kept high, driving down the price, which hurts oil-dependent economies, including those of countries that the U.S. opposes, such as Russia and Iran, in addition to Venezuela.

 

The U.S. media also has been full of stories of Venezuelan supermarkets with near-empty shelves and long lines of people seeking basic necessities. What hasn’t been reported is that the privately owned food corporations are deliberately hoarding supplies intended for working-class neighborhoods while making sure that food and other goods are readily available in the wealthier areas.

 

The Bolivarian Revolution has always endeavored to be an ally of the people of United States and to extend a hand of friendship and solidarity.  When the U.S. government turned its back on the people of the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Venezuelan government offered humanitarian aid but was rebuffed. Venezuela provided fuel assistance to low-income Black and Brown people when the U.S. government would not.

 

These acts reinforced the strong support that many in the Black community had for the process in Venezuela and deepened the commitment of Black activists to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their process. This support is in line with the long-standing Black radical tradition of defending nations under imperialist attack by the U.S. government. 

 

The defeat of the Bolivarian Revolution at the hands of U.S. imperialism and its reactionary right-wing allies in Venezuela would be a defeat for progressive forces all over the world and a disaster for the people of Venezuela and its people, as it has been in Libya and Ukraine and Haiti and every nation that has lost its sovereignty to the two-party commitment to imperialist intervention.

 

UNAC and the Black Alliance for Peace demand:

End US interference in the affairs of Venezuela!

Self-determination for the Venezuelan people!

End the sanctions and economic warfare now!

###

Call for Urgent Action to Confront Plans for Palestinian Prisoners’ Execution

Call for Urgent Action to Confront Plans for Palestinian Prisoners’ Execution

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement engaged in the Strike of Freedom and Dignity within Israeli prisons issued a new statement on 6 May, the 20th day of open hunger strike.

The strike was launched on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, by 1500 Palestinian prisoners and has been joined by a series of prominent leaders of the prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian national movement. Marwan Barghouthi, member of the Fateh central committee, launched the strike; leaders from all Palestinian political movements, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, PFLP leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Islamic Jihad leader Zaid Bseiso, Hamas leaders Hasan Salameh and Abbas al-Sayyed, DFLP leader Wajdi Jawdat, People’s Party leader Bassam Kandakji and many others, including the longest-held Palestinian prisoners Nael Barghouthi and Karim Younes.

The strikers have a series of demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, the right to appropriate health care, the right to education in prison and an end to solitary confinement and “administrative detention,” imprisonment without charge or trial.

The following statement was released today in Arabic by the Palestiian Prisoners’ Movement on behalf of the strikers and is translated into English below. We urge its widest distribution and the implementation of its calls to action, including the escalation of our international organizing and solidarity to build support around the world for the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and their just demands for dignity and freedom. (Click here for translation in Italian)

In the name of God, the most merciful

“Those to whom hypocrites said, ‘Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.’ But it merely increased them in faith, and they said, ‘God alone is sufficient for us and he is the best disposer of affairs.’” – the Holy Qur’an

Statement issued by the Palestinian Prisoners’ National Movement
Follow-Up Committee for the Hunger Strike

As the Dignity Strike of the prisoners’ movement enters its 20th day, it is the beginning of a stage of extreme danger to the lives of the prisoners on hunger strike. This day also marks a specific point in the context of the targeting of the strike by the fascist occupation government, which announced yesterday, led by Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan, that work is being done to recruit doctors from another country to carry out the crime of feeding the prisoners forcibly and that this heinous crime will take place in the Ramle prison clinic, which we have always experienced as a place of isolation and torture. We are also threatened with repression and murder by the al-Matsada repressive units, and informed of their permanent readiness for possible developments and confrontations inside prison.

This trend carries with it preparation for a targeted crime against the prisoners with the intention of murder. It is clear that we are in the next stage now, that of repression, abuse, and attempts to break the strike through threatening the lives of the prisoners. The ongoing preparations indicate that there is a decision taken against the prisoners to their deaths at the hands of a gang of fascists in Tel Aviv. This is what makes this confrontation an extraordinary moment. Dealing with it requires vision, programs and activities that rise to the level required. We emphasize that the government of the fascist murderers and security forces did not yet understand well our decision for 50 leading prisoners to join the strike, and that if this message has not yet reached the Zionist gangs, they will be well aware of it in the coming days.

In this context, we emphasize that any attemptto implement the crime of forced feeding against any prisoner on hunger strike will mean for us a project of the execution of the prisoners. We will deal with it on that basis and we will turn the prisons into sites of confrontation with our bare bodies, armed with oru faith, our will, our determination and our confidence in our people, the Arab and Islamic nation and the forces of freedom and justice in the world to stand by our side. This is a battle of freedom in confrontation of injustice, persecution and oppression, a battle to preserve and fight for human values and concepts in the face of the barbarity and racism represented by the occupation and its agents.

We are aware of the seriousness of the current situation prepared by the fascists in the Tel Aviv government. In this context, we call for:

1) After 20 days of strike and the entry of the prisoners into a dangerous and fateful phase, we call today for a week of outrage shared by all sectors of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in exile, a weel in which our people direct their lava, their volcanoes of anger to the sites of confrontation with the occupation. This also means the continuation of marches, protests and sit-ins, and marches to sit-in tents with the prisoners in Palestinian towns and villages, and besieging the embassies of the occupation throughout the world.

2) We demand the Palestinian Authority immediately end security coordination with the occupation. These are days of national confrontation and action.

3) We call for the launch of a wider international campaign by unions of Palestinian and Arab doctors, warning of the dangers of doctors agreeing to participate in the crime of forcibly feeding the prisoners.

4) We urge action to pursue and prosecute the criminals of the occupation prison administration and intelligence agencies, and the Minister of Internal Security, the terrorist Gilad Erdan, for judicial action everywhere in the world, with the announcement of a list of names, officials and ministers of the enemy to prosecute them as war criminals.

5) We call for the formation of a leading Palestinian national framework with the membership and participation of all of the national and Islamic forces and national Palestinian figures to lead and follow up the actions of struggle for the Palestinian prisoners on the Palestinian, Arab and international level. We emphasize the need for the follow-up committee in occupied Palestine to lead in forming this framework. The Palestinian people everywhere they are have a critical role to play in promoting the struggle of the prisoners. This confrontation deserves to be represented and supported by a national and unified framework.

6) We turn to the Palestinian young men and women, students, workers, the forces of revolutionary initiative who hold the title to the future, and we urge them to participate creatively in struggle and to play the role required of them. You have never disappointed the prisoners for one day, and you will continue to confront and struggle, and we rely on you always.

In conclusion, the coming days will carry new developments from us and as we confront the policy of occupation, we will confront this policy of execution approved by the occupation government against us, the prisoners of the armed resistance and the daily popular struggle.

“And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.”

Glory to the martyrs and the revolution continues. We march in the footsteps of victory!

Your brothers, comrades and mujahideen
Palestinian Prisoners’ National Movement
6 May 2017
20th Day of the Strike of Freedom and Dignity

Justice for Haitian Activist Romario Dangelo Saint Jean!

Justice for Haitian Activist Romario Dangelo Saint Jean!

APPEAL TO TRADE UNIONS, POPULAR ORGANIZATIONS, & POLITICAL PARTIES COMMITTED TO DEMOCRACY AND THE DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS

This is the official International Solidarity Appeal to demand justice for the assassination of Comrade Azaka, Romario Dangelo Saint John, murdered by a death squad April 18th.

Trade unions, peoples organizations, and political parties who support democracy and universal human rights are urged to sign on to this statement, adopt their own resolutions in defense of MOLEGHAF and its targeted activists, and write letters to the officials listed at the end of the appeal.

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 9 PM, while going out to buy groceries for his 22-year-old fiancée who was caring their 6-month-old baby daughter at home, Romario Dangelo Saint Jean, a 26-year-old militant of the Freedom & Equality Movement of Haitians for Brotherhood (Mouvement de Liberté et d’Egalité des Haïtiens pour la Fraternité, or MOLEGHAF), was the victim of a cowardly murder on rue Icard, Port-au-Prince.

Dangelo had been threatened with death and attacked on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by police officers consisting of the hirelings of the UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS) in Fort National. Right away, his mother had accompanied him to the Port-au-Prince public prosecutor's office to bring a complaint against these officers denounced by the popular hue and cry as being the murderers of Davidtchen Siméon in August 13, 2016 and abusers of David Oxygène in August 21, 2016. Given the silence of the police and judicial authorities, Romario Dangelo Saint Jean’s parents were planning to send him to a foreign country to save his life, but the delay of the country’s public institutions in the delivery of papers gave way to the assassins of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) and to criminal impunity.

This heinous murder happens just 8 months after these two criminal offences that we wish to remind to the national and international public opinion:

  • On Saturday, August 13, at 3: 30 PM, in the popular district of Fort National, as a MOLEGHAF meeting concluded, a group of armed men assassinated Davidtchen Simeon, a 23-year-old MOLEGHAF activist, very involved in the fight against the UN occupation forces (MINUSTAH). And before this heinous murder, Wednesday 10 and Thursday, August 11, 2016, Davidtchen had already been violently assaulted and threatened by the police officer Jean Maxime.

  • On Sunday, August 21, 2016, 9 days after the assassination of Davidtchen Simeon, at 6:30 PM, on this same street, rue Icard, near St-Antoine Church, after having been assaulted violently, David Oxygène, MOLEGHAF Secretary-General and an emblematic figure of the Haitian resistance against the UN occupation forces and the dominance of transnational capital, was just missed by shots fired by police officer Jean Maxime.

It is important to emphasize that these acts of serial murder and attacks against MOLEGHAF militants are committed with impunity and with the complicity of the judicial and police authorities. For MOLEGHAF has invoked all the legal procedures, accompanied by lawyers of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) at the national level and those of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) according to the Haitian laws and international covenants and conventions signed and ratified by the Haitian State, but the police and judicial authorities are turning a deaf ear.

These acts of barbarism originated from a critical position taken by MOLEGHAF militants with regard to a construction project, including buildings and a road, that UNOPS wanted to put in their neighborhood without public consultation, accompanied by a miserable salary for construction workers. In fact, as everyone knows, in occupied Haiti, “projects” implementation in the popular districts is often conducted only through the use of henchmen who intimidate the population into compliance.

MOLEGHAF, the Organization to which Davidtchen Siméon, Romario Dangelo Saint Jean and David Oxygène all belong, is known in Haiti for its tenacious fight in defense of national sovereignty and for the withdrawal of the MINUSTAH from Haiti—without which, MOLEGHAF considers that the preconditions for the exercise of democracy do not exist.

But, regardless of the diversity of political views that can be held on such subjects, the assassination of Davidtchen Siméon, the assassination of Romario Dangelo Saint Jean and the assassination attempt on David Oxygène must be condemned with the utmost firmness by all who defend democracy and the most basic human rights.

In this way, we, the presidium of the studies workshop on the situation of freedom of expression and association in the context of the UN occupation in Haiti, gathered in Port -au-Prince this Saturday, April 22, 2017, in the premises of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), located in #3, 2ème impasse Lavaud, Lalue, are appealing to the solidarity of national and international trade unions in order to demand of the competent authorities—particularly the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, the Office of the Citizens’ Protector (OPC) and the Inspector General of the Haitian National Police (PNH)—that all the backers and implementers of the identification and conviction of Davidtchen Siméon’s murder, the assassination of Romario John Dangelo be identified, tried and convicted, and that disciplinary measures be taken against the policeman Jean Maxime for his assassination attempt on the person of David Oxygène.

Down with the occupation! Down with barbarism! United Nations out!

In defense of democracy against barbarism: punishment to those responsible for the serial assassinations of our comrades Davidtchen Simeon, Romario Dangelo Saint Jean and to the police officer Jean Maxime for his assassination attempt on David Oxygène!

Send your messages to:

By letter (these offices have no email addresses to receive messages):

  • Ministère de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique (Ministry of Justice and Public Safety (MJSP) : Av. Charles-Summer 18, Port au Prince - post code: HT6113

  • Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale d’Haïti (General Inspectorate of the National Police of Haïti (PNH): 07 Autoroute de Delmas (zone Delmas 2, Haïti) - Postal Code: HT6120

By e-mail:

  • Office Protecteur Citoyen (OPC) Protectorate Citizen Agency : Av. John Brown, Lalue (Port au Prince) – tel : (+ 509) 2940 3065 / 3702 0656 e-mail: OPC@protectioncitoyenhaiti.org; opc-haiti@hotmail.com; plainte@protectioncitoyenhaiti.org;

Send copies to: ctsp.haiti@yahoo.fr; avokahaiti@aol.com ; moleghaf17@yahoo.fr

Oppose the war on North Korea, Reject Trump Budget proposal to increase military spending

Oppose the war on North Korea, Reject Trump Budget proposal to increase military spending

While the Congress debates an appropriation bill this week to keep the government funded for the rest of the year, the Trump Administration called all 100 U.S. Senators to a meeting to discuss the administrations’ plans on North Korea.

The opportunism of this public relations stunt could not be more obvious. An important element of any Continuous Resolution to keep the government funded and eventual budget agreement will have to address at some point the obscene demand from the Trump administration to increase the Pentagon’s budget by $54 billion dollars.  While the corporate media and democrats have focused on issue of funding for the border wall, the issue of increase military spending is the proverbial elephant in the room.

To fund the U.S. war machine, Trump’s proposals call for cutbacks in programs that fund education, provides meals to seniors, support for housing, after-school tutoring programs, heating assistance, food for poor children, just to name a few of the draconian cuts that will occur.

The issue of North Korea and reckless machoism plays so well with the chicken-hawks in Congress and the media. This is meant to pre-empt opposition to the outrageous assault on the agencies and programs still in place that provide a modicum of relief from the inherently brutal consequences of an economy unable to provide a decent, dignified life for millions. The illegal attack on Syria, escalating tensions with Russia, bellicose statements on China and continued provocations with North Korea are all meant to keep the U.S. public on a war footing and justify the ongoing theft of public funds to the turn of over $600 billion dollars that goes straight into the pockets of the 1%.

Those of us in the Black Alliance for Peace will not allow ourselves to be manipulated. We demand an end to the lawlessness of the U.S. state and the criminal waste of the people’s resources.

International law is supposed to govern the conduct of states and funnel any threats to international peace into the mechanisms that have been set-up to prevent and resolve grave threats to peace and human rights. Yet the U.S. continues to act outside of international law with its arbitrary and unilateral actions. For good reason, the U.S. is now seen by many in the world as the greatest threat to world peace and international law.

As a result of its criminal actions, millions have been murdered, states destroyed and countless people displaced.

The first to fight and die are the poor and working people of this country and the nations that are attacked by the U.S.

We call on members of the Congressional Black Caucus, specifically, and all members of congress to reject the Trump proposal to increase military spending.

End the madness. Stop the U.S. war machine and take back our resources and use them for the people.