University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Groups Plan Activities
To Observe Human Rights Week

 MAILED:  Dec. 2, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will observe Human Rights Week 2003, including International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, with a number of activities sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire chapter of Amnesty International and the Student Life and Diversity Commission.

On Tuesday, Dec. 9, the film “Plan Colombia” will be shown at 8 p.m. in the Davies Theatre in Davies Center. The film, which premiered in Madison on April 3, 2003, explores questions of U.S. government involvement in the “drug war” in Colombia, and the relationship of this intervention to Colombia’s on-going 50-year quasi-civil war. Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy have also produced and directed such award-winning video documentaries as “Peru: Between the Hammer and the Anvil” and “Hidden Wars of Desert Storm.” The film is intended to give participants background information in preparation for Wednesday’s speaker.

On Wednesday, Dec. 10, Cecilia Zarate-Laun will speak on the escalating civil war in Colombia, the increasing U.S. role in that war, human rights abuses by the government army, government-aligned paramilitary groups, leftist guerrillas and the role of natural resources — oil, minerals, coffee and cocaine — in the war. Her presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium, Schofield Hall. Zarate-Laun, born in Santander, Colombia, in 1945, graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1966 with a degree in nutrition and dietetics and received a master’s degree in nutrition from UW-Steven’s Point in 1975. She served as the director of nutrition for the Colombian government’s National Nutrition Plan in Bogota from 1976 to 1977. She also served as a consultant for the Colombian Ministry of Education from 1980 to1982.

Cecilia Zarate-Laun co-founded the Colombia Support Network in 1988 to address U.S. foreign policy toward the war in Colombia and to help foster a national solidarity movement in the U.S. with the Colombian people. She has been active with CSN since its inception and has been the program director since 1997. Throughout that time, she has spoken and written extensively on the violence in Colombia. Her notable publications include “The War on Drugs from the Supply Side,” in the July-August 1998 issue of Z Magazine, and “Globalization and Instability: The Case of Colombia,” which she co-authored with Edward Herman, in the Sept. 1999 issue of Z Magazine. Zarate-Laun’s notable speaking engagements include a presentation at the 10th anniversary conference of Witness for Peace, an address at the 2000 Annual Conference of Call to Action and a speech at the School of the Americas Watch demonstration in Ft. Benning, Georgia, in 1998. She has frequently met with members of Congress and other government officials.

Zarate-Laun was a delegate for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Conference in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in 1992, where she served as chair of the election committee and was a drafter of the Treaty of the Americas. She also is a member of the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) advisory group, a combat-training school for Latin American soldiers, and was a member of the Advisory Council for Latin America for the American Friends Service Committee. She continues to educate the North American people about the impact of the U.S. role in Colombia.

On Thursday, Dec. 11, “Jamnesty,” a human rights benefit concert, will begin at 8 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The concert, featuring Amateur Love and Shekere 3, will raise money for Amnesty International. The concert is open to the public and tickets are $3 at the door.

For more information, contact Kelly Marie Anderson at anderkel@uwec.edu.

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Updated: December 2, 2003