Thursday, May 1, 2014

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We received the following action alert on Honduras from former Pax Christi USA Policy Director Jean Stokan. Please take action as you are able. Thanks!

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TAKE ACTION!

 

from the Honduras Solidarity Network

 

We need your help! On Monday, April 28 Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) began circulating a sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Hank Johnson (D-GA) have joined as initial co-signers. Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have also joined as initial co-signers. 

 

The letter states that "egregious violations of human rights continue" almost 5 years after the coup. It raises concerns about the militarization of the police and the failure to investigate or prosecute human rights abuses, including in the Aguan Valley. The letter also raises concerns about freedom of speech and associations and questions whether the November 2013 election was free and fair.

 

The letter asks State Department to:

  • Pay close attention to these issues and strictly evaluate U.S. support for Honduran security forces, in accordance with conditions placed on the aid in the 2014 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.
  • Fully enforce the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. assistance to any individual or unit that has committed gross human rights abuses and is not being brought to justice. 

The deadline to sign on is Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:00pm EDT.  

 

We need your help in securing the signature of your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this letter. Only members of the House can sign the letter.

 

To sign on to the letter (or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the letter), your Rep's staffer must contact Andrew Goczkowski at Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov in Schakowsky's office. (NOTE: Please do not contact Schakowsky's staff yourself, but ask the staffer to do so.)   

 

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give them the name of your Rep, then ask to be connected. (If you do not know the name of your Rep, please go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter in your zip code at the upper right.)

 

When you call, ask to speak with the aide who handles Foreign Policy. Use the script below in speaking with the aide. If the aide does not recall seeing the letter, ask for the aide's email address so that you can forward a copy of the letter.

 

If the foreign policy aide is not available, ask to leave a message on his or her voice mail. Be sure to get the name of the foreign policy staffer so you can follow up. You can use this script: 

 

"My name is _____. I am a constituent from (town / city) in (your state). I am calling to ask Representative _____ to sign the Schakowsky letter on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Has Representative _____ seen this letter" Can I count on him/her to sign on? Please call me this week at (your phone number) to let me know if you have seen the letter, and if Representative _____ will sign it."      

 

In your phone conversation, you might highlight why this letter is important to you, especially if you have traveled to Honduras or heard a Honduran speak in your community.  

 

PROMPT FOLLOW-UP: 

 

It's useful to follow up with an email to the aide. You can ask whoever answers the phone what their email is and/or use this formula if you know how to spell their name correctly (the person who first answers the phone can spell it for you): Firstname.Lastname@mail.house.gov, e.g. Jane.Doe@mail.house.gov. In an email, you can just ask them to sign the letter, and then if you like, send some information. 

 

Here are two useful general articles, and the recent statement from Reps. McGovern, Schakowsky, and Farr.

If you learn that your Congress member has agreed to sign, please notify me, Gary Cozette at cozettelada@ameritech.net, so we can confirm the signature with Rep. Schakowsky. Please contact me if you want to know if your representative has signed on. I will circulate updated lists of signers whenever we receive them from Rep. Schakowsky's office.  

 

NOTE:  Please DO NOT send the letter to the media in either the U.S. or Honduras until the letter has secured all signers and is formally delivered to the State Department with all signers and a press release. Also once again, please do not contact Schakowsky's staff yourself, but ask your rep's staffer to do to become a signer.

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In Christ's peace,

 

Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA