Congressman Capuano and Local Somerville Group Focus on Tibet and Colombia for the Fifth Annual "Get on the Bus" Day of Action in New York City

April 10, 2000 -- For the second consecutive year, Congressman Michael E. Capuano is working in conjunction with Somerville's Amnesty International Chapter 133, for its annual "Get on the Bus" Day of Action in New York City. Somerville's Amnesty International Chapter 133 will travel to New York City on April 10th to participate in the fifth annual Amnesty International "Get on the Bus" event. During their stay, they will demonstrate at the Chinese Mission to the United Nations on behalf of twelve imprisoned Tibetan nuns. They will also protest at the Colombian Mission to the United Nations focusing on issues of impunity, and military support for paramilitary death squads, particularly in connection with the Barrancabermeja massacre of May 1998.

Congressman Capuano, last week, sent two pertinent letters out to Chinese and Colombian officials prior to the Somerville's group trip. In a letter to Ambassador Qin Huasun, Congressman Capuano urged the People's Republic of China to release twelve Tibetan Nuns who are serving lengthy sentences at the Drapchi prison in Lhasa, Tibet. These twelve nuns are Prisoners of Conscience who have been jailed solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. In his letter, Congressman Capuano pointed out that continued incarceration and ill-treatment of these nuns is an infraction of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in October of 1998.

In a second letter, this one to Ambassador H.E Alfonso Valdivieso, Congressman Capuano urged the Colombian government to investigate the paramilitary force that committed disappearances and extrajudicial killings of civilians in Barrancabermeja on May 16, 1998, and to bring those responsible to justice. By protecting the civilian population and bringing those responsible for disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and other gross human rights violations to justice, the Colombian government has an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to honor and protect the fundamental human rights of its people.