Thursday, April 8, 2010

House Resolution on Colombian Internally Displaced Persons

On March 25th, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and 22 other representatives introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives (H. Res. 1224) calling on the Government of Colombia to address the needs and rights of the country's large population of internally displaced people.

The Washington Office on Latin America issued a press release urging support for H.Res. 1224, which explains:

In 2004, the Colombian Constitutional Court declared a State of Unconstitutional Affairs and ordered the Colombian government to address the needs and rights of the displaced population. Despite the Constitutional Court's demands, Colombia's displacement crisis continues and the Colombian government has yet to implement these orders. The resolution led by Representative Hank Johnson (GA) and 22 other co-sponsors calls on the Government of Colombia to fully implement the Constitutional Court's orders.

As the House resolution notes, Colombia's IDP population is one of the largest in the world, with approximately 4 million already displaced, and the population is still increasing. In 2008 alone, an estimated 380,000 people became newly displaced, and the Resolution adds that "Colombia's internal armed conflict, drug trafficking, aerial fumigation efforts, and the illegal and violent expropriation of territories titled to Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities continue to cause displacement."

In addition to implementing the Constitutional Court's orders, the Resolution would

    1) Recognize the work Colombia's Constitutional Court has done on behalf of Colombia's IDP population;
    2) Urge the U.S. Government to work with the Government of Colombia to ensure that the Constitutional Court's orders are implemented; and
    3) Affirm that Colombia's human rights record will be relevant in Congress' deliberations on U.S.-Colombian relations.

If you want to know what you can do to support H. Res. 1224, check out the Latin America Working Group's action alert.