145 Organizations Urge Obama and Mesoamerican Presidents to Change Course
As Heads of State from Mexico, Central America and the United States prepare to meet for the Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in Costa Rica on May 4 and 5, the Fellowship of Reconciliation collaborated with Just Associates, the Americas Program, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission-USA and the Latin America Working Group to present a letter that has been signed by more than 145 international, regional and local organizations from ten countries in the Americas. The letter addresses civil society concerns about security issues, human rights violations, violence against men and women human rights defenders, among others:
It is time to refocus regional dialogue and resource investment to address the root causes of violence, understanding that for many citizens and communities, drug trafficking is not the principal cause of insecurity. Harmful “development” policies have similarly caused increased conflict and abuses, while forced migration and criminalization of migrants and human rights activists continues to divide families. Most importantly, the region’s challenges must be addressed without violating fundamental rights and human dignity.
The groups said that “the lack of effective gun control in the U.S. has led to the massive and nearly unrestricted transfer of arms to criminal networks throughout the region” and called on the presidents to “take executive action in the United States to stop the flow of assault weapons and other firearms across the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The letter also provides analysis and recommendations related to:
- Militarization in the name of addressing the drug war which has caused unprecedented levels of violence while failing to provide citizen security.
- The imposition of large-scale extractive projects on marginalized communities do not constitute “development.”
- Violations of migrants’ rights and the lack of consideration of root cause of migration in policies.
Read the full text of the letter (pdf).