Friday, March 20, 2009



I am writing with regards to the March 6th murder of Alvaro Miguel Rivera in Cali, Colombia. Alvaro was the representative of Colectivo TĂ­nku, a member of Planeta Paz, and the Polo Rosa.

As a signatory to many international human rights declarations and treaties, it is Colombia's obligation to ensure that human rights violations are fully investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice. Alvaro Miguel Rivera's murder is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which have been signed by Colombia. This crime violates fundamental rights enunciated in the Constitution of Colombia.

Moreover, the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity specify that, “Everyone is entitled to enjoy all human rights without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” and that states should, “adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to prohibit and eliminate discrimination in public and private spheres on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” (Principle 2).

At a regional Level, the recently approved Resolution AG/RES-2435(XXXVIII-O/08) on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” in the framework of the Inter-American System of Human Rights, also signed by Colombia, directs its government to take all concrete and necessary actions to avoid human rights violations that people suffer person because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, especially if they are human rights defenders or LGBT activists.

Finally, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in its Communication dated March 12, 2009, condemns the murder of Miguel Alvaro Rivera and requests that the state of Colombia makes a full and fair investigation into the crime and punishes the perpetrators.

Please take a stand and condemn this particular crime publicly. As people in positions of power, it is up to you to do everything possible to ensure that similar crimes are not repeated in the future. Please protect the rights of your citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. I trust that you will give this issue the attention it deserves.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Timothy Schwinghamer
21111 Lakeshore Road
Ste Anne de Bellevue QC
H9X 3V9

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Subject: Tristan Anderson

Dear Stephen Harper,

Tristan Anderson (38 years old) is near death in an Israeli hospital. He was shot in the head with a tear gas canister at a nonviolent demonstration in the West Bank town of Na’leen, protesting the wall the Israelis are building to isolate the West Bank.

Are you capable of launching a full, impartial investigation of the shooting of Tristan Anderson? He is an American citizen. In any case, Canada ought to respond to the ongoing Israeli violence against unarmed demonstrators. As the Prime Minister of a peace-loving country, you could make some intervention at this time to demand real concessions from the Israelis and push for a true resolution.

I hope my appeal to your basic virtues is effective. I wish it didn’t have to be said, but: human beings should not be treated this way.

Please do not retain any dispassionate ambivalence toward the slaughter of civilians,