President Obama and Colombian President Uribe had their first official meeting yesterday, and, all in all, it was promising.
Thank you to those who participated in our campaign last week to urge President Obama to raise human rights concerns! Obama commented directly on a number of the concerns we raised in the letter, broadly emphasizing the need for respect of human rights and the rule of law.
President Obama specifically mentioned the need to protect human rights defenders (which was our main ask):
We look forward to cooperating with [Uribe] to continue to improve both the
rights of organized labors in Colombia and to protect both labor and civil
rights leaders there… on issues like extrajudicial killings and illegal
surveillance, … it is important that Colombia pursue a path of rule of law and
Although the tone could be stronger, his comments mark a welcome improvement from Bush Administration policy with regards to Colombia. But words are one thing, now we want follow-up.