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A network without borders to defend peace in Colombia

In opposition to the State policy of attacking the opponents of the present government, various organizations, community groups and individuals living in over 30 countries, are launching an initiative, on June 13th calling for the peace agreements which were signed between the Colombian Government and the FARC to be respected, as well as everything they entail.

 

Author: Ramiro Antonio Sandoval Marín

Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marín

 

The systematic killing of community leaders, and of demobilized FARC soldiers and members of the opposition, the repressive measures taken against the exercise of social protest, the impunity, the corruption, the growing strength of paramilitaries, the taking over of the State by influential groups, and a biased judiciary – have converted Colombia into a violent place where peace seems to be the last thing that is possible to achieve.

The proof of this is that since the signing of the Peace Accords in Havana in 2016, between the government of the then President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as they were then called (now the political party the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force), 702 community leaders and 135 ex-combatents have been murdered.

This is according to the report Todos los nombres, todos los rostros (all the names, all the faces), published in May this year by Indepaz and Marcha Patriótica.

Nevertheless, in the course of this year these crimes have continued on a daily basis, in the face of the widespread indifference of the governing class.

Aida Avella. Photo: Prensa Rural. Flickr bit.ly/31g4dnX. License: bit.ly/1mhaR6e

The presence of the extreme Right is today stronger than ever, and their members are totally intolerant of anyone who does not share their policies.

This intolerance extends from political exclusion to physical death.

And the present president Iván Duque has shown through his actions that peace is not on his agenda.

In response to this, the network Defendamos la Paz – Internacional (Let’s defend peace – International), will be launched on June 13th at 2 pm, at the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular (Cinep) in Bogotá, Colombia.

Ivan Cepeda. Photo Facebook page

So far, it is made up of individuals and about 70 Colombian community organizations, which for one reason or another, including living in exile, being refugees, or having been forcibly expelled from where they lived either by violence or for economic reasons, have left their country.

They are living in other countries of the three Americas or in Europe, and they have come together, with the aim of supporting from a distance the agenda of Defendamos la Paz, which is – as the Senator Iván Cepeda has said – “a kind of meeting of many voices to defend the peace process”.

At the launch event, under the banner “Invitation to peace. Without borders”, there will be a panel with the Senators Aida Avella, Iván Cepeda, Gustavo Petro, Victoria Sandino and Gustavo Bolívar, as well as the ex-minister Juan Fernando Cristo. All of them – along with the members of the international network -have always stood for peace and the protection of life.

The objectives of Defendamos la Paz – Internacional are, among others, “that of being a cross-border social movement united around the democratic and transparent construction of a peace agenda”.

The network, which aims to remain independent “of the interests of political parties and tendencies”, also aims to organize joint actions in defence of peace and national reconciliation, without distinctions of gender, age, ethnicity, or political and religious affiliations.

Equally, it seeks to take forward the tasks of citizen diplomacy together with all the international organizations that have given their encouragement to a political solution to the internal conflict of the country.

These are practical tasks. Here are some of them: to support the mobilization in defence of peace and life that is being constructed in the arenas of participation among the diaspora; to support and promote the implementation of the Peace Accords, especially in rural areas.

Also, they want to encourage the taking of measures aimed at protecting the lives of community leaders, their communities, and social and community activities; to demand that the Government re-activate the round table dialogues with the ELN, and to support guarantees of the right to truth, justice and reparation for the victims.

But also they seek to encourage and implement citizen diplomacy through direct contact with members of parliament; to report, by means of official declarations specific situations which violate the peace agreements and/or human rights in Colombia; to promote the support and accompaniment of specific communities at risk; and to monitor and demand the fulfilment of the human rights clause written into the free trade agreements established in Colombia.

Date and time:: June 13, 2 pm. Venue: Cinep (5 #33B-02 Bogota, Colombia). Lore information: defendamoslapazint@gmail.com, Whatsapp: 3174414455, Twitter:  @DefendamosPaz  y Facebook.

Related video

The Prisma recommends…

On the subject of the Peace Accords, The Prisma recommends this interviewby Julián F. Martínez , which was shown on the programme Revelados, with the ex-President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Juan Manuel Santos.

(Translated by Graham Douglas)

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