To: Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, President of Colombia, Jorge Armando Otalora Gomez, National Human Rights Ombudsman, Eduardo Montealegre Lynett, Attorney General, and Ruth Stella Correa Palacio, Minister of Justice & Law
Stop Political Persecution of Ricardo Esquivia and Colombian Human Rights Workers
We call on you to ensure the safety and security of Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas, and to investigate the political persecution of the peace movement of the High Mountain Zone of El Carmen de Bolívar, Colombia.
Why is this important?
According to credible sources, Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas, Director of Asociación Sembrando Semillas de Paz (Sembrandopaz),faces the threat of detention by the Colombian authorities. Ricardo and Sembrandopaz work with conflict-affected communities of the Caribbean Coast in Colombia to peacefully reconcile differences and build a better future. This threat to Ricardo Esquivia constitutes political persecution and must not stand unchallenged by defenders of democracy and human rights.
Ricardo Esquivia has been a driver of peace and community development in the region for over 40 years, as evidenced by international peace awards from the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He is Co-founder and Director of the Commission for Restoration, Life and Peace of the Evangelical Council of Churches of Colombia (CEDECOL). He is also the founder and former Director of Justapaz, the Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action of the Mennonite Church of Colombia. For many years he represented all non-Catholic religious groups on the National Council of Peace, which advises the President of Colombia. Despite his record (or because of it), Ricardo has been repeatedly threatened, baselessly, with detention or legal action. It is time to end this harassment of a proven servant of the Colombian people.
Public pressure has been effective in detering the detention of Ricardo Esquivia in the past. Add your voice to help end this harrassment so that Ricardo and his colleagues can continue the pursuit of peace in Colombia without threat. Join us in calling on President Santos and other officials to ensure the safety and security of Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas, and to investigate the political persecution of the peace movement of the High Mountain Zone of El Carmen de Bolívar, Colombia.