Saturday, May 16, 2009

Please act on behalf of missing Colombian pastor

Reyes_and_family The Voice of the Martyrs joins with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling for action to be taken on behalf of Pastor William Reyes, who has not been seen or heard from since he disappeared in north-east Colombia on September 25, 2008. Because of fears for their safety, his wife, Idia Miranda and her children William, Luz Nelly and Estefania were recently moved to another part of the country.  According to CSW:

Pastor Reyes disappeared last year while travelling home from the city of Valledupar.  He and Idia were the leaders of the Light and Truth Inter-American Church of Maicao, in the province of La Guajira, and were also members of the local pastors’ association, FRAME.  They and other pastors at FRAME had been receiving threats from unidentified illegal armed groups since March 2008.

Ten days after Pastor Reyes’ disappearance, thousands gathered for a peaceful march through the streets of Maicao calling for his safe return. That same day, a wallet containing Pastor Reyes’ identification documents was found just inside the Light and Truth Church.  His family and church hoped this was a message that he was still being held alive somewhere; however, they did not receive any further communication or a ransom request. (Source: CSW)

CSW notes that recently the family has also come under threat.

A number of worrying developments in the case since the beginning of this year led to the decision to move Idia and her children to another part of the country.  In January, a man arrived at the Light and Truth Church asking for Idia.  When he was told she wasn’t there, he requested her home address and mobile number, which were not given to him.  He left a message that it was “in her best interests to get in touch with him, rather than for him to have to find her”.

Just a week later, William and Idia’s sixteen-year-old daughter Luz Nelly was approached in the street by a stranger, who told her she should go with him if she wanted to see her father again. When the man attempted to grab her arm, Luz Nelly fled. 

In February, unidentified armed men allegedly entered another Christian church, just a few blocks from the Light and Truth Church, and forcibly removed a female parishioner. 

Please pray for this family during this terrible time.  Pray that those guilty of Pastor Reyes’ disappearance, and the disappearance of other pastors in the area, would repent of their crimes, release their captives and that justice would be done.

CSW is also urging its British supporters to write to their members of parliament in the UK.  May I encourage Canadians to do likewise? 

Please write a letter to your MP to ask the Canadian Government to raise this case and urge the Colombian government to open an official investigation.  CSW partners in Colombia report that despite repeated pleas for action, the Colombian Attorney General’s office has not reported any progress in investigating Pastor Reyes’s disappearance.

In your letter, you might ask your MP what action, if any, the Canadian Government has taken on this case. You might also ask your MP to contact the Colombian Embassy directly to express concern at the failure to open an official investigation into Pastor Reyes’ disappearance.

You can find the name and address of your MP by clicking here and entering your postal code.


Ron and Jeanette said...

Wrote to my MP - he is questioning what I expect the Canadian government to do about a pastor missing in another country. Logical question. I said that:
The reason for asking the Canadian government to get involved in a case in another country is because in most cases government officials will not pay attention to ordinary citizens in other countries (nor in their own country in many instances - Canada being a notable exception) and I think that if the Colombian government knows our government is aware of this situation and is concerned, they may take a more active role in this investigation.
Anything else?

Glenn Penner said...

Your response is exactly the correct one. UK MPs do this kind of thing all of the time.