In Colombia the problem is not so much unjust laws, as it is the failure to apply existing laws and legislation in a timely manner. The communities Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia accompany are hugely affected by these failures, as is the entire country. In effect such delays result in the continued impunity for perpetrators of crimes, thereby undermining the rule of law’s ability to prevent future crimes. Victims are not only denied justice and compensation; they are also at risk of becoming repeat victims of repeat offenders.
Comunidad Garzal and Nueva Esperanza
In my great misery the Lord found me, reached down in the mud and rescued me.
He has seated me with kings and has let me rest.
He told me that he loved me and restored me, slowly gave me what the world could never give.
It is true that I am old but my hope stands firm,
As I move from church to church, writing verses of the Word
Just as before, I sing and sing,
Brining songs that fill my soul with joy,
Giving all my praise to Jesus Christ.
He is the owner of my life, He is the owner of my soul.
On Friday January 10th, Salvador Alcántara, pastor and leader for the community of El Garzal and Nueva Esperanza, and his family returned to their home. Paramilitary threats forced pastor Salvador and his family to leave El Garzal in June of 2013.
After 7 difficult months away from family and church community, Salvador glowed with joy as he and his family unloaded boxes and swept away cobwebs. “I am thrilled to be home” he said over dinner with his children and grandchildren, “now I really feel free”.
“now I really feel free”
CPT accompanied Salvador in his return home and was also present during a meeting where Salvador and other community leaders from El Garzal and Nueva Esperanza met with the mayor, the military, the police, and the municipal Human Rights officer to discuss a more concrete security plan now that Salvador is living in El Garzal again.
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.
When I kept looking for someone to support my case, I received threats against my four children and myself.
“In 1998 we were living close to the military base outside of San Pablo when my husband was killed on the road on his way home.
In early March CPT Colombia accompanied Giordano of CAHUCOPANA and a small delegation of popular education specialists to a rural sector of Tierralta, a town in Cordoba. (One of CPT Colombia’s local partners is CAHUCOPANA–a grass-roots campesino human rights organization of north-east Antioquia.) The communities are located on an artificial lake created by the Urrá hydroelectric dam. They are only accessible by water via the small port of Frasquillo after passing through military checkpoints of the adjacent military base. Since the building of the dam this busy little port has been under curfew; it former residents must now vacate the area before nightfall and are only allowed to return after sunrise.
Earlier this week INCODER, the government institution that oversees land titling and rural development forfeited the land away from Aportes San Isidro S.A., the palm oil company that had invaded the territories belonging to the community of Las Pavas. This decision is a significant step towards the rightful ownership of the land by the community. Read on for Las Pavas’ statement.
116 families celebrate! ASOCAB is respectful of the decision of INCODER.
We, the Farmers Association of Buenos Aires (ASOCAB), give thanks to God, in whom we believe. We also give thanks to all national and international organizations that have joined us in this process.
Today we give thanks to the God of life that Claudia Maria Mayorga, a woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and peace builder was released on November 1, 2012 after eight months of imprisonment. Earlier this year she was charged with rebellion for allegedly conspiring against the Colombian state. Her friends and family never lost hope; partly because she always had the help of lawyers but above all because of the resilience of this beautiful family.
Her arrest is an example of the many injustices perpetrated on a daily basis by the state against Colombian human rights workers and the facts of which never surface.