Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. The delegation was organized by CPT and by a grassroots organization under the acronym of CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia). These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.
As members of the delegation, we represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali.
In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot. Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses as a result of a lack of state involvement. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.
There’s a gender movement going on. More and more often, in our Colombian context, the terms gender equality,...
CPT Accompaniment of CAHUCOPANA
Later this week, CPT Colombia will be accompanying CAHUCOPANA to a gathering of the First Regional Meeting of Women of Northeast Antioquia “In defence of the territory and dignity” in Dos Quebradas. As CAHUCOPANA prepares for the upcoming workshop, their members have received threats and harassment from masked men, armed and wearing uniforms with no identification, presumed to be the Colombian military.
The following denouncement describes the harassment against Carlos Alfredo Palacio Usuga of CAHUCOPANA and Noemí Durango Pérez of the regional Women’s Team for Humanitarian Action and makes three demands:
- Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos and his government must act accordingly to ensure the respect of human rights in the region;
- Respective authorities need to investigate the case and those guilty be penalized according to the infractions of International Humanitarian Law and the violations of the human rights of the communities;
- UN High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia should monitor the situation and recommend a course of action for the Colombian government.
Yesterday a thousand riot police and military personnel arrived in the small town of Norian, just north of Aguachica, and completely surrounded five thousand small farmers who had begun to gather there since May first. The display of force and the restriction of movement has been a part of the government’s strategy to clamp down on the growing Agrarian strike.
300 campesinos retenidos en Remedios con el argumento de poner en riesgo a la población de la ciudad de Medellín @ClaudiaErazo5
— Cahucopana Nordeste (@CAHUCOPANA) May 6, 2014
Earlier today, 300 small farmers from the northeastern Antioquia traveling to Medellin to participate in public gatherings were detained on the pretext that they would be a threat to the residents of Medellin, since the public forces did not have enough personnel.
Yesterday, August 22nd, the first peace march took place in the town of Segovia. It began at the...
We, the small farmers, miners, and indigenous people from the towns of Segovia and Remedios, declare to all local inhabitants that the claims and demands that were included in the recently-released statement constitute the people’s historical rights. These claims seek to defend all the rights of the people who live in this area, who have made great contributions to the country’s economy and development.
Our struggle in this huge mobilization of thousands of farmers, miners, and indigenous people is intended to call the attention of the national government, so that they might pay attention to our requests, which have been fair and for the well-being of the entire region.
On Sunday, August 18th, young men and women from the rural communities of the Segovia and Remedios municipalities of in the department of Antioquia took to the streets armed with frustration, courage, adrenaline, and, yes, sticks and stones. They went out to the streets of Segovia to express their frustration at a system that has abandoned them to live in conditions that no human should be asked to endure.
This action is part of a larger national protest. All over Colombia small farmers, miners, the indigenous, truckers, teachers, healthcare workers, coffee and cacao growers and other agricultural sectors have joined together to cry out that they are tired of the conditions they have been asked – by the Colombian government – to endure in order to join the wider world economy.