No to US Troops in Colombia
Posted on: Friday, April 13, 2012
Yesterday, we received a press release from our friends at La Ruta Pacífica denoucing the American troop presence in Colombia. Read their press release below:
We Do Not Want American Troops in Colombia!
Bogotá, April 12, 2012—This past March 31 the Colombian media reported that more American soldiers are to be sent to Colombia. This information was previously published by the US media and by the press of the Armed Services in the United States. General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, who was Chief of US troops in Afghanistan and of the Iraq Security Transition Command, stated that he would send to Colombia senior US official “brigade commanders that had been in Iraq and Afghanistan to work with the joint forces” in Colombia. He also added that “the challenges that the Colombian army faces are no different from those faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The women of La Ruta Pacifica, from the perspective of feminism and pacifism denounce the foreign military presence in our country. In the same way that we opposed the US presence on seven military bases in Colombia, we similarly oppose that more US military come to advise or be advised, nor do we want them here to facilitate an “exchange of experiences.”
We Colombian women know what US troops come to Colombia for. We reject that our territories and our bodies continue to be violated by men in uniform that are said to defend the homeland, democracy and freedom. We oppose the culture of violence and of war that armies like the US army spread wherever they go.
The presence of foreign military results in a higher rate of sexual offenses against women and girls. In most cases, almost all of these offenses go unpunished because foreign forces are generally protected by the Status of Forces Agreement from legal action in the host country.
Let’s not forget that in Colombia there is a history of sexual violence committed by US military officials. The most well-known case was that of Melgar v Cundinamarca, where in 2006 a mother denounced the sexual assault of her twelve year old daughter by two North American military officials. These men returned to the US and the case remained unpunished. In addition there would be another 35 similar cases being investigated.
Militarization increases and intensifies violence against women; the logic of the war in Colombia has shown that the lives and bodies of women are treated as entities of control and power by the different political, military and economic forces. In the context of armed conflict these violations are exacerbated but are invisible. To date there are only 29 cases of sexual violence being investigated under the law of Justice and Peace that took effect in 2005.
We do not want to feed into the logic of this war. We do not want more foreign military personnel on our lands. What we need are agreements reached between Colombians and Colombians.
We call on the National Government to be transparent about their dealings and military agreements made with other countries.
We urge the Colombian Government to make the Cooperation agreement signed with the US available in its entirety.
We demand that civil society and the international community establish a system to oversee and monitor the impacts of military presence on women and their impacts in the communities where they are based.
We demand that the National Government complies with international obligations that protect women and girls from all forms of violence and put an end to the impunity of gender-based crimes.
To read the original press release in Spanish, click here.
Archives"Press Releases" Home March 2013 February 2013 September 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 November 2010 October 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 September 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 January 2009 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 October 2006 July 2006 June 2006 September 2005 January 2004 August 2001
Kaitlyn Soligan, Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE Makes News
Stoking Fire: Addressing the Specific Needs of Female Syrian Refugees (RH Reality Check, May 17, 2013)
An Open Letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala (Common Dreams, May 15, 2013)
Mothers Fight Back (RH Reality Check, May 9, 2013)
How Not to End the War in Syria (Common Dreams, May 9, 2013)
Conditions in Jordan Syrian refugee camp are worse for women (Women's News Network, April 19, 2013)