Author: Angelika Albaladejo
After more than 50 years of war and four years of negotiations, the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas have reached a peace agreement. This long-awaited accord ends the longest-running armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere and offers the opportunity to implement a sustainable peace.
This historic step is a testament to decades of advocacy by grassroots activists like you. Since 1998, LAWG has worked alongside Colombian civil society and victims’ groups to advocate for peace, justice, and respect for human rights – and you’ve helped us lift up their voices and build support for peace in Colombia and in the United States.
The human costs of the conflict have been devastating. More than 220,000 people —over 80 percent of whom were civilians— lost their lives in the brutal war. Over the course of the conflict, more than 6 million Colombians were forcibly displaced, more than 45,000 were disappeared, and countless women suffered sexual violence that often went unrecognized.
Proper implementation and monitoring of the accords will be needed to ensure that the victims of violence have real access to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees that the violent past will not be repeated.
Rural, impoverished, and marginalized communities —including Afro-Colombians, indigenous, and women— were disproportionately affected by the violence. These groups have taken the lead in defending the rights of their communities at home and at the peace table. They will also play a major role in building peace from the ground up. We must continue to stand with them in advocating for true peace.
There are tremendous challenges ahead. In our statement on the peace accord, LAWG lays out some of the risks that will be faced in post-accord Colombia. We also urge the U.S. government to fulfill its moral obligation to fund and diplomatically support the expensive, long-term process of implementing the peace accords.
Let’s celebrate this momentous step towards peace and continue advocating for truth, justice, reparations, and respect for human rights. ¡Sí a la paz!
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Raise up your voice in solidarity with the Colombians that have defended
their communities and made their voices heard at the peace table.
These victims groups, human rights defenders, and community leaders
will continue to play a crucial role in implementing the accords.
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P.S. We wouldn’t be able to advocate on these issues without your support— through your activism and your donations! Click here if you’d like to support our continuing work for a just and lasting peace in Colombia.