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Delegation to Meet with Social Justice and Human Rights Organizations

Since the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, CRLN members have partnered with local and national organizations to work to restore democracy to Honduras.  Two of those local partners,

La Voz de los de Abajo

and

Casa Morazan

are organizing a weeklong delegation to Honduras, to build ties with Honduran organizations working on behalf of social justice.  Join us – to hear directly from human rights leaders in Honduras so that we are equipped to advocate for just US policies.

The coup in Honduras, led by a graduate of the US’s School of the Americas program, has led to the deaths of human rights and social justice leaders in Honduras and called into question the US’s commitment to democracy in this hemisphere.  The cost of the delegation is $1,200 including airfare.  Please prayerfully consider joining us on this delegation and working with us upon your return to advocate for policies that will encourage restoring democracy in Honduras.

For more information, call 773-293-2964

.

Recent CRLN Webstories on Honduras


https://www.crln.org/Condemn_Military_Coup


https://www.crln.org/Honduran_Coup_Tom_Loudon_Report


https://www.crln.org/Honduran_consulate

Summary of Delegation from La Voz de los de Abajo and Casa Morazan

For more than 2 months, the Honduran people and their
organizations have surprised the world with their sacrifice and bravery in
mobilizing daily in resistance to the coup of June 28.  In response to the call from social organizations and the
Honduras National Front Against the Coup, La Voz de los de Abajo and Casa
Morazan is organizing a week-long delegation to Honduras, with the overall goal
of building a solidarity movement supporting the social justice movement in
Honduras and strengthening ties between U.S. organizations and activists and our
counterparts in Honduras.

There is limited space on the delegation. We are looking for
people involved in solidarity work, media, cultural work, trade union and
workers’ rights, healthcare, immigrant rights and others who are interested in
learning directly about the situation in Honduras and willing to help bring
information about the Honduran people’s movement to the U.S.

The delegation will meet with organizations that are
participating in the National Front Against the Coup and with human rights and
alternative media organizations. The National Front Against the Coup is the
coordinating organization for all the organizations in the country that are
resisting the coup. It holds regular general assemblies in which decisions are
made for resistance activities. Below is an introduction to some of the organizations that our delegation will have the opportunity to meet and to talk with.



The Central Nacional
de los Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC) The National Center for Rural
Workers


is one of the largest
and most active campesino base organizations in Honduras. It was founded in 1985
when 5 campesino groups joined together to build an organization dedicated to
the struggle for land for the landless and poorest farmers.  It
organizes not only for land, but also for access to healthcare, education,
housing and other basic services. The CNTC has affiliated communities in most of
the 18 departments (states) of Honduras. It was one of the few campesino
organizations to publicly oppose U.S. intervention in Central America during the
1980’s and it has continued to take progressive positions on international and
national social justice issues.  Because of its work in the
countryside its communities and leaders have frequently been targets for
governmental and landowner repression. The CNTC is a member of the Popular
Block, the National Coordinator for Popular Resistance and since the June
28 coup it has been an active participant in the National Front
Against the Coup (Frente Natcional en Contral el Golpe).



El Comite de Familiares de los Desaparecios en Honduras
(COFADEH) The Committee of the Families of the Disappeared in Honduras


was rounded on November 30, 1982 in Tegucigalpa. COFADEH is a center for moral
and political resistance to the abuses of government and an organization for the
defense and promotion of human rights. Its objectives are to fight against
impunity; to use the law and justice to end the practice of politically and
ideologically motivated forced disappearance of persons; to contribute to the
protection of the full application of human rights and to maintain alive the
collective memory of the past.



El Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e
Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH) The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous
Organizations of Honduras


is an activist indigenous organization in the
southwestern region of Honduras with national reach. It was founded in March of
1993 to fight for the recognition of and achievement of political, social,
cultural and economic rights for the indigenous peoples in Honduras. It is also
a center for analysis of the regional and national conditions with the aim of
developing actions and proposals on an ongoing basis for the achievement of its
goals. COPINH is an active member of the Popular Block, National Coordinator of
Popular Resistance and it is an active member of the National Front Against the
Coup.



La Central General de Trabajadores


(CGT) The General
Workerr’ Center is one of the union
centersin Honduras. It was formed in 1970 and has aroudn 120 thousand affiliated
workers. The CGT is one of the few workers’ organizations to survive through the
decade of the 1980’s which saw the most cruel and bloody refpression against the
working class and the other diverse organized sectors of the people. The CGT is
one of the largest organizations active in the National Front Against the Coup.



The organization LOS NECIOS


is a political organization working for radical change in the dominant and unjust
social and economic structures in order to build a different society. The
organization is centered in Tegucigalpa and is composed of members, mainly
youth, from different sectors who are committed to social transformation.
The Necios’ political activity is organizing in diverse social sectors,
political education and ongoing analysis of the national reality. Much of their
work is also in alternative media. The Necios organization was a member of the
National Coordinator of Popular Resistance prior to the coup.



Colegio de Profesores de Educación Media de Honduras
(COPEMH) The College of Secondary School Professors of
Honduras


is the organization of
all the high school teachers in the country. Teachers have played an extremely
crucial role in Honduran society and COPEMH is the strongest teachers’
organization in Honduras with an impressive ability to mobilize and sustain the
mobilization of its members and supporters. It is an important participant in
the National Front Against the Coup and at least 2 of its members have been
killed during the repression since the coup on June 28th


La Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras
(OFRANEH) The Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras


was founded in 1979 to defend the
Garifuna and other Afro-Honduran’s rights, lands, and culture and to fight for
justice in all spheres of life for these communities. The Garifuna people are
the largest ethnic minority in Honduras and OFRANEH has struggled for legal
recognition and protection of their lands and territory, and for bilingual
education. OFANEH is an activist organization that has participated, since its
founding, in the movements for social justice in Honduras; it has also been a
target for repression throughout its history. It is currently an active
participant in the National Front Against the Coup.



Dr. Luther Castillo and the
First Garifuna Hospital in Honduras


Dr. Castillo is a Garifuna physician and outspoken community organizer and also the
director of the Luaga Hatuadi Waduheno (“For the Health of Our People”
Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to bringing health services to the
isolated indigenous communities on the Atlantic Coast. Dr. Castillo graduated
from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba in 2005 and returned to his
region to lead the building of the first “Garifuna hospital” which serves 20,000
people. He was named “Honduran Doctor of the Year” by the International Rotary
Club of Tegucigalpa in 2007. Since the coup in June of this year, Dr. Castillo
has been threatened and the coup government has tried to shut down the hospital.
Dr. Castillo was a member of the delegation of Honduran civil society that
toured the United States this summer to lecture on the situation in
Honduras.

Each of these organizations is playing an important role in
the struggle to restore the constitutional order in Honduras, beginning with the
restitution of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and in the fight for the “4th
Urn”  aimed at constitutional reform. The delegation will have the opportunity
to visit these organizations and leaders of the National Front Against the Coup
in Honduras, including candidates and elected officials from the Democratic
Unification Party (UD), independent candidates, Carlos H. Reyes and Berta
Caseres, and  anti-coup members of the Liberal Party. The delegation will also
have the oppoortunity to meet with representatives of the communication media,
that have truely informing the people about what is going on in Honduras and to
hear of their experiences and contributions to the resistence.


La Voz de los de Abajo is a Chicago organization that has
worked in solidarity with the social justice movements in Honduras for 11 years.
Much of our work has been directly with the campesino movement and the National
Center for Rural Workers (CNTC). Over the past 11 years we have participated in
organizing for the Pastors for Peace caravans to Mexico, Honduras and
Nicaragua.  We have organized many small delegations that have
traveled to campesino and indigenous communities across Honduras and
participated in conferences and visits to social organizations in Tegucigalpa.


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We are in the process of updating these principles.  Please stay tuned for the revised version.

Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition Principles for Immigration Policy

The Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition (CNSC) and Immigrant Welcoming Congregations live out an interfaith vision.  We challenge faith communities and leaders through education, advocacy, and action for immigrant justice.  We recognize each individual as a child of God and as such, deserving of justice and mercy regardless of country of origin, migratory status, race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

We live in a time of an immigration crisis and therefore, as people of faith, we are compelled to social action.  We understand that freedom cannot exist for some while is it not fully attainable for others. Freedom cannot exist for some at the cost of the suffering of others: this then is oppression. The United States of America’s current policies are fundamentally exclusionary, oppressive and erroneous in its understanding of the realities of migration.

We recognize structural violence, historically given and economically driven conditions, to be at the root of this crisis. Therefore immigration, trade, environmental and international development policies necessitate transformation to reflect our beliefs in the principles of justice and liberation for all people.


1. Pathway to Citizenship

Immigrants living in the U.S. without authorization must have access to a path to permanent residency and citizenship.  Marginalization drives people to depend on underground means of survival; this is dangerous both for these individuals and the common welfare.  The current crisis is destroying families and communities and demands a comprehensive solution that will allow for a future for sustainable and just immigration policy. We recognize inclusive legalization as the only way to ensure safety and guarantee rights for all people.  A pathway needs to be available for all including skilled and unskilled works and must not be bound to economic barriers that exclude.


2. Family Unity and Integration

Families and households should be allowed to legally migrate and be reunified with family members in a timely and efficient manner.  Family values are central to sustainable communities.  We believe strongly in a right to reunite and integrate.  These tenets should be central in any comprehensive immigration policy reform.


3. Protection for All Human Rights

Human rights are by definition universal.  The immigration crisis has perpetuated an infringement on the dignity of the person.  Human rights include but are not limited to the universal entitlement and protection of the basic rights to survival, emotional and physical security, and access to housing, healthcare and education. The rights of children deserve special attention because of their particular vulnerabilities.

Violations of human rights occur in both countries of emigration and those of immigration.  It is imperative that the rights to mobility, residency and nationality be ensured for all those who migrate to seek the ability to flourish.  Along with the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, we assert all workers’ rights to fair wages that support decent livelihood for workers and their families, the right to organize in trade unions, safe and healthy working conditions.  Full worker rights must be recognized, protected and enforced.  The state is obligated to uphold these rights.


If any employment-based immigration program is instituted, the number of visas should be revised according to the signs of the times such as current economic reality.  The option of a pathway to citizenship must be offered to the worker and their family.  All workers should be able to find a pathway to citizenship regardless of skill or education level.


4. Humane Enforcement Strategy

The militarization of border has not successfully stopped the flow of migration.  It has damaged the natural environment, has driven migrants into remote desert regions and causes thousands of deaths of men, women and children.  Militarization has resulted in excessive spending and has not met its intended goals.  ICE and law-enforcement agencies must stop using tactics that terrorize immigrant communities and cease using racial profiling to target certain groups of people. They currently abuse their authority with impunity, rather ICE and law enforcement agencies should be held accountable by independent organizations.

Enforcement-only strategy is not helping immigration or slowing migration.  We need to ensure due process and access to legal counsel that is competent in immigration law.  Immigration authorities should not treat people with civil offenses as if they were criminals.  If immigrants are held in detention facilities, their full human rights must be respected, including access to medical and legal services as well as religious counsel.  We also need alternatives to traditional detention and to halt the privatization of detention, especially in the cases of children.  There should be no profiting off a failed immigration system.


5. Address Root Causes of Migration

While just and comprehensive immigration reform would represent great progress, we must examine what is really broken.  International economic and political conditions often constrain people’s opportunities and make migration one of the few viable options to meet their basic human needs.  While migration has historically been a part of the human experience, the complexity and gravity of the current global migration phenomenon requires a broad-based social and political response that includes, but are not exclusive to, the following:


  • Trade agreements

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and other free trade agreements have failed to create opportunity for people to fully realize their basic human needs.  In Mexico, NAFTA has only exacerbated gaps in wages and increased the cost of basic foodstuffs.  NAFTA has not encouraged sustainable economic growth in Mexico nor      curbed migration.  Bilateral/multilateral trade agreements continue to be negotiated worldwide.  Any trade agreement should build mutual, just, and sustainable results for all participating countries.


  • International Development Policy

The World Bank Structural adjustment policies (SAPs), conditions on loans from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have had severe implications for less developed countries.  They have had a paralyzing effect on countries’ ability to lift themselves out of debt.  The debt incurred has set up a system of dependence between developed and developing countries.  Sustainable and equitable development is necessary for improved well-being and for the an accurate understanding of current migration trends.


  • Environmental injustice and disaster

Trade, unbridled Capitalism, and “progress” have led to the commodification of the environment of many lesser-developed countries.  This has for example shifted subsistence farming into monoculture cash crops destroying local economies as well as causing widespread environmental degradation.  Trade agreements need environmental standards.

Climate refugees are also increasing in numbers as a result of Climate Change but also because of the degradation of the ecosystem.  As disasters continue to increase with intensity greater numbers of people are being forced to move or migrate.  We need to address these emerging needs both in terms of immigration but also from an    environmental justice standpoint.



Click here to return to the main CNSC web page

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COURT WATCH

was founded by Sisters Pat Murphy and Joanne Persch of the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants. They were moved by their faith and conscience to stand in solidarity with immigrant communities, especially those who remain in detention, who are often the most vulnerable and invisible.

OBJECTIVES

of the Court Watch Program are to stand in solidarity and serve as a presence in Detained
Immigrant Court to let those involved in this system know that we are watching and we care about what happens to our immigrant sisters and brothers.  By serving as a public witness we aim to
bring transparency to this broken system and educate outside communities about the
current conditions of immigrants in detention. It is our goal that through monitoring and documenting our observations we also support the urgent and imperative need for comprehensive immigration
reform.


WHO IS BEING DETAINED?

Each year, as many as 400,000 immigrants are detained by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and they often remain detained for some months unless they
become eligible for bond.

Many of these immigrants have no criminal histories and are being detained on minor charges as well as the civil charge of entering the country without authorization. They are pursuing various forms of legal relief that are available to immigrants, such as asylum, cancellation of removal, waiver of removal, or relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).


WHAT IS DETENTION COURT LIKE?

Detention Court is located in the west Loop at 525 W.Van Buren, corner of Canal, in Ste.
500; (312) 697-5800 ext 0.  Immigrants in detention are frequently not present in the courtroom for their hearings.  Rather, they appear via Video-Teleconferencing (VTC).

As many of the detainees are non-native speakers of English, they
communicate via a translator, who may either be present in the courtroom or be
connected telephonically through a translation service.


YOU CAN BECOME A COURT WATCHER!

In order to stand in solidarity for immigrant justice we must provide support, share the voice of immigrants in detention with the public, and let the Department of Justice know that we are
watching. Immigration Detention Court hearings are held Monday – Friday from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm, except for Federal holidays. Contact Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants or email icdichicago.org.


Immigration

Court Watch is a program of the Interfaith
Committee for Detained Immigrants

www.
icdichicago.org


FY
Statistical Year Book, U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office of
Immigration Review, March 2005

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Faith-Based Organizations

Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition:

CNSC, a project of the Chicago
Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, is an interfaith coalition of
religious leaders, congregations and communities, called by our faith to
respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant sisters and
brothers.


Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform:

CCIR is a campaign to mobilize Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good faith in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform.

www.justiceforimmigrants.org/


Interfaith Immigration Coalition:

IIC is a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting fair and humane immigration reform that reflects our mandate to welcome the stranger and treat all human beings with dignity and respect.

http://www.interfaithimmigration.org

 

Interfaith Worker Justice:

IWJ advocates for justice for all workers in the U.S. – native-born citizens, legal residents, and those who are forced to live and work in the shadows, undocumented workers and their families.

http://www.iwj.org



Jewish Council on Urban Affairs:

JCUA combats poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with Chicago’s diverse communities.


www.jcua.org


Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services:

Witnessing to God’s love for all people, we stand with and advocate for migrants and refugees, transforming communities through ministries of service and justice.

www.lirs.org

Illinois Organizations


Illinois 
Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.


http://www.icirr.org


Immigrant Youth Justice League:

A Chicago-based network that represents undocumented youth and allies in the demand for immigrant rights through education, resource-gathering, and youth mobilization.

www.iyjl.org

National Organizations


Center for New Community:

A national organization committed to building community, justice, and equality. The Center is grounded in many faith traditions, and builds community where the dignity and value of all humanity is manifest.


http://www.newcomm.org


The Fair Immigration Reform Movement:

FIRM is a national coalition of grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level.


http://www.fairimmigration.wordpress.com


National Immigrant Justice 
Center:

NIJC provides direct legal services to and advocates for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education.


http://www.immigrantjustice.org


Reform Immigration for America:

A national network of advocacy groups. If you sign up for updates on this site, you will be sent updates on events and campaigns specific to your zip code.


http://reformimmigrationforamerica.org/

Detention and Due Process Organizations


Detention Watch Network:

DWN focuses on immigration detention issues. They post information about due-process-related concerns in proposed comprehensive reform legislation.


www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/


Rights Working Group:

RWG strives to restore the American commitment to protect civil liberties and human rights for all people in the U.S. RWG has grown a strong coalition of civil liberties, human rights and civil rights, national security, and immigrant rights organizations to work hand in hand to restore due process.


www.rightsworkinggroup.org

U.S./Mexico Border Organizations


Coalición de Derechos Humanos:

Coalición de Derechos Humanos (“The Human Rights Coalition”) is a grassroots organization which promotes respect for human/civil rights and fights the militarization of the Southern Border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.


www.derechoshumanosaz.net/


No More Deaths:

No More Deaths is an organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative: the conviction that people of conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights.


www.nomoredeaths.org/


BorderLinks:

An international leader in experiential education that raises awareness and inspires action around global political economics.  Organizes “delegations” to visit the border region or Chicago, IL to understand migration issues first-hand.

www.BorderLinks.org

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Timeline of Events Surrounding Coup

Both the U.S. and Honduran mainstream media has published misinformation about the events surrounding the coup of June 28,2009.  For example, the allegation that President Zelaya wanted to change the constitution in order to extend his time in office was invented by the coup leaders and repeated early and often.  However, President Zelaya never stated this.  The following timeline includes critical events leading up to and following the coup, including social legislation passed by President Zelaya in the months before the coup:



November 11, 2008:


President Zelaya announces his intent to conduct an opinion poll to see if the people want to have a fourth ballot box installed at polling places during the next election (11/29/09).  This fourth ballot box would be in addition to the ballot boxes for President, Congress, and local officials for the purpose of holding a non-binding referendum asking people if they want the government to hold a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution.



February 2009:


President Zelaya increases the minimum wage by 60%. Chiquita (formerly United Fruit Company) and Dole join the Honduran Business Council in complaining that this will cut into their profits and lead to mass unemployment.  However, this increase results in salaries that are still less than a third of a living wage for Hondurans.



March 24, 2009:


President Zelaya issues a decree to the National Statistical Institute to hold the opinion poll on June 28, 2009.  Article 5 of the Honduran “Civil Participation Act” of 2006, approved by Congress and the Supreme Court at the time, allows public officials to perform non-binding public consultations to inquire what the population thinks about policy measures.  While the constitution can only be changed by a 2/3 majority of the Congress, Zelaya was merely attempting to gauge public opinion as an advisory measure for Congress.



March 25, 2009:


The Attorney General’s office notifies Zelaya that if he proceeds with the opinion poll, he will be charged with abuse of power.



May 2009:


The Supreme Court, the Congress, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal all rule that the opinion poll is illegal, in spite of the fact that in 2006, the Congress had passed and the Supreme Court had approved the above-mentioned Civil Participation Act allowing for non-binding public consultations.



June 25, 2009:


Gen. Romeo Vasquez, trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, tells President Zelaya that the armed forces will not distribute ballots for the non-binding referendum as ordered by the president.  President Zelaya fires him.



June 26, 2009:


Supreme Court rules that Gen. Vasquez be reinstated.  President Zelaya refuses to do so, saying “If an army rebels against a president, then we are back to the era of the cavemen, back to the darkest chapters in Honduran history.”  He and his supporters go to the Air Force base to collect and distribute the ballot boxes themselves.



June 28, 2009:


Early in the morning, armed forces led by Gen. Vasquez storm Zelaya’s home, disarm the Presidential guard, and fly him to Costa Rica.  The plane stops at Palmerola, a joint U.S. and Honduran military airfield.

The military patrols the streets in tanks and fly overhead in planes.  Electricity, phone lines, and international cable TV lines are cut; water is cut off to some neighborhoods; TV and radio stations supportive of Zelaya are taken off the air; and the stations still on the air report no news.

Nine ministers in Zelaya’s administration are detained.  A dozen Zelaya ministers go into hiding, fearing arrest.

An extraordinary session of Congress is called, but not all legislators are notified or present.  There is later dispute over whether Congress had a quorum.  A fake letter of resignation from President Zelaya is read and a vote is taken to remove Zelaya from office and install Roberto Micheletti, President of the Congress, as President.  Micheletti immediately orders a 24 hour curfew for all citizens which lasts for three days.  People cannot leave their houses even to buy food or water, without fear of army retaliation.  After the third day, the curfew is suspended and reinstated arbitrarily, at the whim of the coup government, for the next several months.

The Front of Resistance to the Coup is born, a coalition of labor, farmworker, student, indigenous, Garifuna (a mixed Afro-Caribe people), and feminist groups.  People who had not been part of protests in the past join the Front’s non-violent resistance in daily public demonstrations and marches in spite of the curfew.

All Latin American countries, the European Union and much of the rest of the world unequivocally condemn the coup and call for the reinstatement of President Zelaya.  Many over the next several days recall their ambassadors and cease economic relations with Honduras.  Secretary of State Clinton, refusing to use the word “coup,” condemns the “action” taken against President Zelaya and calls on “all parties in Honduras to respect the constitution and the rule of law.”  President Obama calls Zelaya’s ouster “illegal.”  However, the U.S. does not recall its ambassador, withdraw its military personnel from Honduras, cut off aid, or cease trade relations with Honduras.



June 30:


UN General Assembly calls for restitution of Zelaya as president of Honduras.



July 1:


Introduced by Micheletti, Congress issues an order suspending freedom of assembly, freedom of transit, due process, and permitting search and seizure without a warrant.



July 2:


European Union countries recall their ambassadors to Honduras.



July 4:


Organization of American States (OAS) suspends Honduras’ membership.



July 5:


President Zelaya flies to Honduras.  Crowds gather at the airport to meet him, but coup government prevents the plane from landing.  1 killed, dozens wounded.



August 4:


The State Department sends a letter to the Senate to “clarify” the U.S. position on the events in Honduras.  “We energetically condemn the actions of June 28. We also recognize that President Zelaya’s insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal.”  The State Department is still unwilling to call the events of June 28 a coup.



September 3:


U.S. State Department stops $30 million in non-humanitarian aid from going to Honduras but is still unwilling to call the events of June 28 a military coup.



September 21:


President Zelaya returns to Honduras secretly and takes up residence in the Brazilian Embassy.  The coup government again declares a curfew, which lasts until Sept. 23 at 10 a.m., only to resume at 4 p.m. that same day.  People are trapped in their houses, many without food or water.  Nevertheless, many defy the curfew and gather outside the Brazilian Embassy in support of Zelaya that night.



September 22, 2009:


Early in the morning, police violently break up the gathering of Zelaya supporters.  Mr. Micheletti issues a secret decree suspending the constitution and civil liberties for 45 days, finally published in the government register September 26.  Campaign of harassment begun against those in the Brazilian Embassy.



September 30, 2009:


Police invade the National Agrarian Institute, arresting 50 farmworkers who had been occupying the building since the coup.  The farmworkers were trying to prevent the coup government from destroying or changing land titles that were finally being registered for farmworkers under Zelaya’s land reform measures.



October 29, 2009:


Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon negotiates an accord between Zelaya and Micheletti, in which Micheletti agrees to let the Congress vote on Zelaya’s restoration to the presidency in return for Zelaya’s agreement that he will not seek a constitutional assembly or change the constitution, that he will support November 29 elections and encourage his supporters not to protest them in any way, that the army will be responsible for elections logistics and “keeping order” during the campaign season and on election day, and that he will participate in a “unity and reconciliation government” with those who carried out the coup.  Sec. Shannon makes clear that the expectation on all sides is that Congress will vote on Zelaya’s reinstatement very soon, by November 6 at the latest.



October 30, 2009:


Congress announces it will go on indefinite recess.



November 3:


Sec. Shannon announces that the U.S. will recognize the legitimacy of the November 29 elections whether or not Zelaya is restored to the presidency.



November 9:


President Zelaya announces he will no longer support the accord, since the Congress shows no sign of voting on his reinstatement.

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INFORMATION TO FIND SOMEONE IN DETENTION


Below you will find contact information for groups who can help you find family, friends or members of your congregations in detention.

The

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) Family Support Hotline – 1-855-435-7693 or 855-HELP-MY-F(amily) — is a good place to start.

It connects families in crisis with reliable and immediate information, referrals to legal, ministry, and social services – while also providing a long-term connection to someone who can help them locally. Click

here

for the ICIRR website.

Contact the

Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI)



1-773-779-6011 ext 3846​ –

for information about detention centers, weekly vigils at detention centers, and how to get care packages to loved ones in detention. Click

here

for the ICDI website.

You can also try to locate individuals through the

ICE Online Detainee Locator System

at

https://locator.ice.gov

, by calling the ICE Helpline at 1-888-351-4024, or by calling the consulate of the detainee’s home country.


Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)

: For information on detainees housed at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, family members and attorneys should contact Chicago field office: 101 West Congress Parkway, Suite 4000, Chicago, Illinois 60605,

Phone:

(312) 347-2400


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INFORMACION PARA ENCONTRAR ALGUIEN EN DETENCION


A continuación encontrará información de contacto de grupos que pueden ayudarle a encontrar a familiares, amigxs o miembros de sus congregaciones en detención.


La Coalición de Illinois para Inmigrantes y Refugiados

(ICIRR por sus siglas en ingles) tiene una línea de ayuda para familias  – 1-855-435-7693 o 855-HELP-MY-F (amily) – este es un buen lugar para comenzar. ICIRR Conecta a las familias en crisis con información confiable e inmediata, proporciona referencias a servicios legales, ministeriales y sociales – al mismo tiempo que provee una conexión a largo plazo con alguien que pueda ayudarles localmente.

Haga clic aquí para ver el sitio web de ICIRR.

Comuníquese con el

Comité Interreligioso para Inmigrantes Detenidos

(ICDI) 1-773-779-6011, extensión 3846- para obtener información sobre centros de detención, vigilias semanales en los centros de detención y cómo mandar paquetes de atención a sus seres queridos en detención.

Haga clic aquí para ver el sitio web de ICDI.

También puede tratar de localizar a personas a través del

Sistema en línea de localización de detenidos de ICE

en

https://locator.ice.gov

, llamando a la línea de ayuda de ICE al 1-888-351-4024 o llamando al consulado del país de origen del detenido.


Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)

: Familiares y abogados buscando información sobre personas detenidas con El Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE) pueden contactar la oficina central: 101 West Congress Parkway, Suite 4000, Chicago, Illinois 60605,

Teléfono:

(312) 347-2400

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Your members of Congress owe their seat in Congress to votes from your district and state.  Money matters far more than it should in American politics, and it may often seem that members don’t listen.  But members of Congress

do

pay attention to their constituents, and

you

can have an impact.  Congressional offices count the letters they receive ON various issues, and

your action to send letter can have a direct effect on votes and actions

Most foreign policy issues aren’t front and center for members of Congress.  On a back-burner issue, even a small number of letters can make a BIG difference.

If you belong to a non-governmental, religious, grassroots or community organization, you can build a personal connection between your organization and your congressional offices on a set of issues that can significantly advance your cause.

Making effective phone calls to the Washington office of your members of Congress

  1. Ask to speak with the staff person responsible for the issue. On foreign policy issues, this will often be the foreign policy aide.

    If you know the appropriate staff person’s name who deals with your issue, so much the better.

    Give your name and tell the receptionist that you are a constituent (you will be more likely to get through to the aide).
  2. Introduce yourself very briefly to the staffer, explaining that you are a constituent and, if you belong to a local organization concerned about this issue, add that connection.
  3. Be specific about what you want the member to do.  Don’t just complain about an issue; say you want the member to vote for or sponsor a specific bill or amendment, or take a particular action, like sign a congressional “dear colleague” letter.
  4. Ask what the member’s position is on the issue.  If the staff person doesn’t know or won’t say what the member’s position is, ask what they, the staff person, will be recommending to the member.

    Ask them to learn what the member’s position is on the issue, and to get back to you with that information.

    Thank them for their time.
  • Recognize that congressional staffers are often very pressed for time. Make your message

    short and direct

    .

  • Be prepared to get voicemail.

    Prepare a brief one or two sentence summary of what you want to leave on voicemail. Do give your name and contact information. You may want to ask them to call you back. If it’s right before a vote, leaving your “plug” for the vote without asking for a call back may be sufficient.

Scheduling a meeting with your congressional office in D.C. or in your district

1. To make a meeting with your member of Congress or one of their staff, follow the same directions as above; but rather than telling them what you would like them to do over the phone, simply tell them which issue you would like to discuss in person, and ask them when they and/or the member would be available for a meeting to discuss your issue.
2. A very effective tactic is to organize a group meeting of constituents who can speak from a variety of backgrounds (academic, religious, business…) and ask for a meeting with the member himself/herself.
3. In order to schedule a meeting with the member, it is likely that you will be asked to fax a formal meeting request letter to the member’s scheduler. This is normal procedure.

Tips on congressional visits

1.

Introduce yourself and your local community links

(groups associated with, member of a board, etc). Say what you want to talk about, which issue and piece of legislation.
2.

Find something to thank them for.

If they’ve voted right in the past, make sure to mention that (it is a good idea to know your member’s voting record on the issue before you go into the meeting).

3.

Get the member or aide to talk.

Ask what the member’s position is on the legislation and why. Do they support specific amendments? How will they vote? This will give you a framework to shape your dialogue and address their issues.
4. Often you might be talking about an amendment that the member doesn’t know well.

Be prepared to explain the amendment

briefly and ask if she/he wants more information.
5.

Ask for something more and something specific

. Open with a specific request. If the member is already on your side, ask for something more. If the member is good on the issue, show her/him a list of needed representatives or senators. Ask which ones she/he knows well enough to ask to support getting favorable action on the amendment.
6.

Stay on message.

Don’t be put off by smokescreens or long-winded answers. Bring her/him back to the point. Keep control of the visit.
7.

Speak from your experience.

If you are meeting with your member’s office on Cuba and have traveled to Cuba or have heard a Cuban speak, share your story. You do not need to be an expert. Bring as many facts about which you feel comfortable to the table, but give stories from your experiences if possible. Don’t stray from the real facts, however!
8.

Present supporting documents

, such as relevant local editorials, denominational church statements, etc. Underline or highlight the most relevant portions of the document and reference the information as you hand it to the aide or member.
9.

Close the deal.

Get a commitment on your specific request. If you got a “yes,” then you are done. If not, ask what the member would need in order to do what you want. Then follow up on those concerns.

10.

Continue to build the relationship.

Relationships go through ups and downs, but they continue. Send a thank-you note. Keep in contact with the staffer as you receive new information or as votes approach. After the vote, give your member feedback-either thank her/him, or express your concerns if she/he voted against the amendment you were supporting.



Do’s

  • Do learn members’ committee assignments and where their specialties lie.
  • Do identify the aide(s) that handle the issues and build a relationship with them.
  • Do present the need for what you’re asking the member to do. Use reliable information.
  • Do relate situations in their home state or district to legislation.
  • Do, in the case of voting records, ask why the member voted the way she/he did.
  • Do show openness to knowledge of the counterarguments.
  • Do admit what you don’t know. Offer to find out and send information back to the office.
  • Do spend time even when the member has a position against yours. You can lessen the intensity of her/his opposition, or you might even change her/his position.



Don’ts

  • Don’t overload a congressional lobby visit with too many issues. One visit for one or two topics.
  • Don’t confront, threaten, pressure, beg or speak with a moralistic tone.
  • Don’t be argumentative; speak with calmness and commitment so as not to put the staff or member on the defensive.
  • Don’t use easy ideological arguments.
  • Don’t overstate the case. Members and staff are very busy.
  • Don’t expect members to be specialists; their schedule and workload make them generalists.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Don’t leave the visit without leaving a position or fact sheet in the office.
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General Assembly Council100 Witherspoon St

Louisville KY 40202

Tel 502-569-5315

Fax 502-569-8039

www.pcusa.org

The 218th General Assembly approved Item 11-18:


Report on Human Rights in Colombia

From the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program (PPP) recommend that the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) do the following:

1. Call on the members and congregations of the PC(USA) to study the situation in Colombia, diligently pray for the work of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and advocate with senators, representatives, and the president of the United States to lay down the weapons of violence and support the nonviolent struggle of the churches and civil society of Colombia and those in the U.S. who stand beside Colombians to end the violence by:

  • Withdrawing military support to the government of Colombia.

 

  • Reorienting U.S. policies toward Colombia in such a way as to encourage a more equitable distribution of that country’s immense wealth, and to protect the rights of groups threatened by the interests of large corporations, including indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, labor leaders, human rights workers, and many campesinos.

 

  • Ending the aerial fumigation for coca crops and focusing on programs that provide higher levels of  support for farmers to convert to alternative crops and that reduce demand for drugs in the United States.

 

  • Transferring U.S. support to the growing civil society committed to democracy and nonviolence.

 

  •  Providing aid to strengthen health care, education, and nutrition, especially among the displaced.

 

  •  Increasing aid for resettlement of displaced persons in their homelands.

 

  •  Channeling aid through nongovernmental organizations.

 

  • Supporting the commendable work of the United Nations in Colombia, especially the work of the high commissioner of refugees with internal refuges, displaced women, and threatened indigenous communities.

 

  •  Ratifying and urging Colombia to also ratify, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

 

2.  Direct the World Mission’s ministry area, in consultation with the appropriate entities of the General Assembly Council (GAC) and the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), to continue to monitor the situation in Colombia, and to keep the whole church abreast of these findings; and to offer advice and counsel, as needed, about how this denomination can continue to support the peacekeeping efforts of our partners in Colombia.

3.  Direct the Presbyterian Washington Office (PWO) to continue to educate the members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and their representatives in the Congress of the United States of America about the effect of American legislation on the lives of individual Colombian citizens with particular emphasis on Plan Colombia and the Free Trade Agreement.

4.  Direct the Presbyterian United Nations Office (PUNO) to continue to represent the concerns of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to the committees and delegates of the United Nations.

5.  Affirm and further encourage the work of the Accompaniment Program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that watches over and shadows vulnerable and threatened Colombia citizens as they seek justice for their most threatened and needy population.

6. Direct the appropriate entities of the General Assembly Council (GAC), in consultation with the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), to continue to monitor and address human rights violations in the United States, and in other nations brought to their attention by the members of this denomination and/or the partner churches.


7. Direct the Stated Clerk to write to the members of Congress of the United States of America, urging them not to ratify the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, which would have grave consequences for workers, indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations, and the environment.

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While there is not currently a specific bill on Colombia currently in Congress, CRLN and our partners continue to educate Members of Congress about the issues facing the country. See below for some good resources that you too can use when talking to your representatives.


Recent Congressional Dear Colleague Letter on Colombia Policy


PC(USA) General Assembly Report on Human Rights in Colombia


United States Office on Colombia


Center for International Policy’s Colombia Program


International Campaign for the Right to Defend Human Rights


US and Colombia Sign Military Base Agreement

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Face the Displaced

Colombia: Our Hemisphere’s Hidden Humanitarian Crisis

With over four million Colombians forcibly displaced from their homes by a debilitating war, Colombia is now the second worst internal displacement crisis in the world.

We would like to invite you, to help CRLN and people across the country do something about it.

On April 16-19, tens of thousands across the U.S. and Colombia will participate in this year’s Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia to call for a much-needed shift in U.S. policies toward the war-torn country.  Please join us.  Find out what you can do to by clicking “Read More.”

As you know,

the U.S. has for too long been part of Colombia’s problem, not the solution.

U.S. policy towards Colombia has been dominated by massive military aid, futile fumigations, and now a proposed NAFTA-style free trade agreement.  In this moment of changing the way things are done in Washington, it’s our chance to call on President Obama to chart a new path with Colombia–one that halts the displacement, supports victims of violence, and opens avenues to peace.

To boost awareness of Colombia’s crisis and amplify the call for policy change, we are joining a dozen other national organizations in launching the fifth annual

Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia.

In March, hundreds of universities, faith communities, and organizations will be assembling thousands of printed faces of Colombia’s displaced people to be later displayed in poignant, eye-catching displays.  While displaced people’s faces make appearances in numerous cities and towns in April, congregations across the country will be praying for peace in Colombia-focused worship services.  The anticipated tens of thousands of participants will have the opportunity to send messages to the Obama Administration asking for policy changes needed to make peace in Colombia possible.

Here’s how you can get involved:


1.

Dedicate a worship service to Colombia in April.

On the weekend of

April 16-19,

hundreds of faith communities in the U.S. and Colombia will incorporate Colombia into the weekly worship service to raise awareness of the spiraling displacement and pray for peace.  Please suggest to your faith community leaders this week that a worship service focuses on Colombia.  We will provide you with a packet of sample sermons, prayers, background info, bulletin inserts, and other materials to help bring this critical Colombia focus.

 


 

2.

Host a “Face the Displaced” party in March.

Throughout the month, student, church, and community groups will be gathering to print and assemble thousands of faces of those currently displaced in Colombia.  Through their portraits and accompanying statements, featured Colombians will tell participants the oft-tragic and oft-inspiring stories of their struggles to cope with displacement.  Please ask your student club, church group, or community organization to consider doing a “Face the Displaced” party in March.  We will provide you with a packet of faces, stories, instructions, factsheets, and other helpful materials.

Host your own event in March

or join CRLN and our Chicago partners for a workshop on

April 16th, 4-6pm at 8th Day Center for Justice.


3.

Display the displaced in a public demonstration in April.

Thousands of faces of Colombia’s displaced, upon being assembled in “Face the Displaced” parties, will be displayed in moving public demonstrations across the country in April.  Please ask your student group, congregation, or community organization to consider setting up a public display.  We will provide faces assembled in your area, in addition to tips on pulling off an effective display/demonstration.  After April, the faces of the displaced will all be sent to Washington, D.C. for one final, massive display and to be presented in person to representatives of the Obama Administration.  Join us at

Federal Plaza

on

April 19th, 11:30am-2pm

to raise awareness here in Chicago!


4.     National Call in Day, April 19th.

Join people all over the country in calling Congress to demand a new direction in US-Colombia foreign policy. We are especially asking our Members of Congress to co-sponsor

HRes 1224

, which protects the rights of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.

Click

here

for Witness for Peace’s Packet of instructions and resources for Days of Prayer and Action.

I hope you’ll consider standing with millions of displaced Colombians in this growing effort to bring meaningful U.S. policy change.  Please let me know your thoughts.  I am happy to provide the materials mentioned above and answer any questions you may have.  Email me at

earmstrong@crln.org

for more information.

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