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Last Updated:4/18/05
Letter from several NGOS to U.S. Agency for International Development, February 22, 2005

February 22, 2005

The Honorable Administrator Andrew Natsios
Agency for International Development
The State Department
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Administrator Natsios,

We the undersigned non-governmental organizations from the United States, Colombia and Europe once again wish to express our support for the donor conference in Cartagena, and the international government declaration of February 3, 2005. We consider the clear recognition, inherent in the declaration, that Cartagena is a continuation of the London process, to provide a unique opportunity for the international community to support the Colombian people and institutions in their efforts to develop solutions to the country's severe problems, exemplified by more that 40 years of armed conflict and a humanitarian crisis. We applaud the recognition given by international governments to Colombian civil society for their constructive role in shaping the declaration, as well the appreciation expressed for the consensus declaration from seven Colombian civil society sectors presented on February 2, 2005.

At the same time, we are deeply disturbed that the U.S. delegation's statement following the Cartagena conference failed to emphasize the importance of greater progress required by Colombian authorities in fulfilling the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for human rights. We believe it is important for the United States to: express explicit support for the mandate and operations of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Bogotá, as well as the other branches of the UN system based in Colombia such as UNHCR and OCHA; back rapid and comprehensive implementation of the UNHCHR recommendations; acknowledge the critical role of civil society in shaping the future of Colombia; support mechanisms by which the G-24 group of international governments can facilitate dialogue between civil society and the Colombian authorities and; recognize the existence of an armed conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Colombia as established in the Cartagena declaration.

We write to express our sincere hope that the United States government will play a more active and constructive role in efforts by the G-24 to ensure all objectives laid out for progress in respect of human rights and the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the London and Cartagena declarations are fulfilled, in particular "to obtain results as quickly as possible" in the implementation of the UNHCHR recommendations and the establishment of a "legal framework with legislation which would allow the realization of the principles of truth, justice, and reparation."

We hope you will be able to reassure us that these issues are of paramount importance to the United States administration.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Julia Madariaga V.
Coordinator & Technical Secretary
The Alliance of Social and Other like-minded Organizations
for International Cooperation for Peace and Democracy in Colombia
(The Alliance groups ten important sectors of Colombian society: six broad social sectors that are active in all regions of the country (the trade union sector, indigenous, peasants and farmers, and Afro-Colombian organizations, the movement of community action boards and women's organizations) and four sectors of specialized organizations (working on development, environment, peace initiatives and human rights).

Neil Jeffery
Executive Director
U.S. Office on Colombia

Sarah Ford
Director, Office of Public Policy
Lutheran World Relief

Matthew Wade, S.M.
Associate Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

C. Richard Parkins
Director
Episcopal Migration Ministries

Tom Bamat
Represenative for Colombia
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Barbara Gerlach
Colombia Liaison
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

Krisanne Vaillancourt
Executive Director
Witness for Peace

Adam Isacson
Director of Programs
Center for International Policy

Gastón Chillier
Senior Associate for Human Rights and Public Security
Washington Office on Latin America

Cristina Espinel and Kelleen Corrigan
Co-Chairs
Colombia Human Rights Committee

Rosemary McGee
Representative for Colombia
Christian Aid - United Kingdom and Ireland

Cc
Michael Kozak, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Department of State
Danika Walters, Program Officer, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Department of State
Heather Merritt, Colombia Desk Officer, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, United States Department of State

Senator Christopher Dodd
Senator Russell Feingold
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Mitch McConnell

Representative Jim Kolbe
Representative Nita M. Lowey
Representative James P. McGovern

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