Imagine trying to raise your children and protect your home in one of the most war-torn regions of South America. Yaneth Pérez, single mother of three, will share her experiences from Colombia in Coeur d’Alene on April 24.
Pérez is the president of the Dawn of Women for Arauca Association which advocates for women’s rights and social justice. She will give a presentation, “Women Working for Peace in Colombia,” on Tuesday, April 24, at noon in Todd Hall at North Idaho College.
“We, as women, are suffering the consequences of the war in Colombia” said Pérez. “We watch our husbands being imprisoned or killed, or having to flee from our homes in order to save their lives. We’re then left alone to care for our children and provide them with a decent future. Women who speak out against the war and for social justice have been threatened, arrested, and killed.”
The people in Arauca (a state in northeastern Colombia) are suffering from living in a war torn country. More than 100 community leaders have been killed and many more have been imprisoned on charges of “rebellion.” Occidental Petroleum has a huge oilfield and pipeline in Arauca that are being protected by the U.S. and Colombian military.
Two guerrilla groups have been fighting against the government for more than 40 years. Amnesty International USA has repeatedly documented the Colombian military’s involvement in human rights abuses.
“We don’t need any more weapons in Arauca” said Pérez. “There are already more than enough guns and bombs to kill all of us. Instead of sending arms, we ask the U.S. government to provide support for schools, health clinics, housing, and small farmers so that we can take care of our families.”
Pérez is being accompanied by Scott Nicholson - a Missoula resident and board member of Community Action for Justice in the Americas. Nicholson has been in Arauca since July 2006 documenting the human rights situation in the region. The presentation will include his photos of the war in Arauca.
This event is sponsored by Community Action for Justice in the Americas, Montana Human Rights Network, North Idaho College Diversity Events Committee, and Students for Progressive Chan
Information: Sharla Chittick: firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-769-7350