Human rights leader to speak on women and war in Colombia

Sonia Lopez, director of the Joel Sierra Regional Human Rights Committee and a leader of the Dawn of Women for Arauca women's organization, will present “Women and War in Colombia” at 1 p.m. Monday, April 25 in the Blue Creek Bay Room of North Idaho College's Edminster Student Union Building.

|photo1|Lopez, 21, joined the Peasant Youth Association when she was 9 and began participating with her parents in the social movement at age 14. She became the coordinator of a local chapter of the Joel Sierra Regional Human Rights Committee when she was 19 and the following year, was chosen to be the director of the committee.

Lopez lives in the oil-rich, north-eastern department of Arauca, one of the most conflictive regions in Colombia. Economic interests associated with the control of Arauca's substantial oil resources conflicting with the right-wing paramilitaries and allies in the Colombian military's attempt to sabotage the protected resources and gain capital from extortion of the oil industry have fuelled the conflict for more than 20 years.

Peasant farmers, unionists, indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, women's rights activists and community leaders are often the targets of such violence.

Since 2000, the United States government has given $3.2 billion to the Colombian military and police, which maintain close relations with the right-wing paramilitaries that are responsible for more than 75 percent of human rights abuses committed in the country.

The presentation is cosponsored by the NIC Diversity Events Committee, Community Action for Justice in the Americas, Witness for Peace and NIC's Students for Progressive Change. The event is free and open to the public.

Information: (208) 769-3397.

For More Information
NIC Diversity Events Committee Chair Sharla Chittick, (208) 769-3397

Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2005

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