National Peace Meeting is Launched

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 16 June 2011

On June 8th the National Meeting of Peasant, Afro-descendent and Indigenous Peoples for Land and Peace was held in Bogota. The meeting launched the preparations for the National Conference on Peace that will be held in Barrancabermeja later this year, aimed at using the experiences of different communities to begin a debate on how to achieve a peaceful solution to Colombia’s social and armed conflict.

The speakers at the launch included representatives of Colombia’s peasant communities, a delegate of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, Jesuit priest Father de Roux, and a delegate representing the Colombian government. Various national and international NGOs were present at the meeting, including the Jimmy Carter Foundation.

Although differing opinions were offered in the various speeches, a common theme was the need for dialogue in order to resolve the decades-old civil conflict and that the effort to achieve a military solution to the conflict had failed. Father de Roux, and the peasant representative Miguel Cifuentes, both spoke of the need for land redistribution and the right of return for the displaced, while Cifuentes also emphasised the need for social justice.

The National Conference for Peace and Reconciliation will take place between 12th-15th August in the city of Barrancabermeja with representatives of Colombia’s peasant, afro-descendent and indigenous communities. There will also be presentations by victim’s organisations, the government, trade unions, business, farmers, as well as including communiqués from the country’s two guerrilla groups.

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