Protect a Colombian priest under threat and support his human rights work
Father Alberto Franco is a Colombian priest and a leading human rights defender in a country at war. His work supporting peace communities under threat, human rights victims and peacemakers has been internationally recognized.
Today Fr. Alberto, his colleagues from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, and the communities they support are under attack and need you.
Due to the death threats against Fr. Alberto, he has a bodyguard and an armored car. On February 13, Fr. Alberto's bodyguard pulled up to his house to pick him up for work. Before going to the door to get Fr. Alberto, the bodyguard scouted out the surroundings to ensure the coast was clear. As he was doing this, someone fired a weapon with a silencer, hitting the passenger side of the windshield three times. That is the spot where Fr. Alberto would have been sitting just minutes later.
This is not the first indication that Fr. Alberto and his colleagues at the Inter-Church Commission are under threat. Just in the past year, 13 surveillance plots against them have been uncovered. They have received numerous death threats. They face a defamation campaign. It appears Fr. Alberto and the Inter-Church Commission are at greater risk than ever.
Why? Because they have stood up for peace, justice and human rights in a country where speaking truth has dangerous consequences. The Inter-Church Commission has helped create peace communities in war zones. They fight for land restitution for farmers driven off of their land by paramilitary gunmen. And perhaps it is no coincidence that this latest attack comes as the Inter-Church Commission helps represent war victims at the Inter-American Human Rights Court in a case against the Colombian military for the atrocities committed during the scorched-earth campaign in 1997 dubbed Operation Genesis.
Please take action now to stand up for Fr. Alberto, the Inter-Church Commission and the communities under threat that they support! Demand the U.S. Embassy stand up for these human rights defenders!