URGENT CALL TO PRESIDENT IVÁN DUQUE
Advocating a Negotiated End to Armed Conflict Our Second Offer to Mediate Continued Peace Talks in Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia January 22, 2019
URGENT CALL TO PRESIDENT IVÁN DUQUE TO STRENGTHEN PEACE IN COLOMBIA #PEACEISOURRIGHT
The Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights, formed by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC); the Greater Government of the Traditional Indigenous Authorities of Colombia; The National Council for an Afro-Colombian Peace (CONPA); proponents and advocates of the Ethnic Chapter for Peace; the directive council of IEANPE, representative and negotiator of the first order before the Monitoring Commission for Implementation of the Peace Accord (CSVISI); and on behalf of the Indigenous and Black Communities, historic victims of colonialism, enslavement, and armed conflict in our territory; we collectively assert:
1. We condemn and lament the horrific acts by the National Liberation Army (ELN) Guerrilla in the past few days, and we call on the ELN to take real actions demonstrating their commitment to Peace in Colombia, and their readiness to build confidence among negotiating parties, with the end of resuming dialogues. We are exceedingly concerned about the heightened danger that our leaders and communities are living in.
2. We equally condemn and lament the assassination, threats, and systematic persecution affecting our social leaders in Colombia, which has reached 467 people since the peace accord was signed. Nearly 40% of these assassinations have occurred in the Indigenous and Black Communities. Our leaders continue to face a lack of attention, response, protection, and willingness on behalf of the government and others to protect them. With the threatening climate gripping the country, we are apprehensive that the number of assassinations will continue to climb.
3. In light of President Iván Duque’s decision to break off peace negotiations with the ELN Guerrilla, in addition to the threats of war that have resurfaced during his first year in office, we yet again call for the president to consider dialogue and a political solution as the only way out of an armed conflict and the historic acts of injustice and social inequality that have left thousands of victims in our country, with disproportionate numbers and severity in ethnic communities and territories; we urge the president to continue negotiations with the ELN, leave the door open and generate effective means for ending violence so we do not lose the commitment, efforts, time, and resources invested for peace in the last few years. Make peace possible with a holistic implementation of the Ethnic Chapter and Ethnic Focus of the Peace Accord, and write a history we can look back on as one marked with respecting life, the natural world, and the rights for all.
4. Victims we have called Ethnic Communities, our women, young people, children, and the elderly, with their own language and historical knowledge, cultures, identities, and relationship with their territory, have historically been the most persecuted. On behalf of their memory, struggle, and resistance, we reiterate our commitment and offer, as the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights, as Mediators between the Parties to Continue Dialogue and make all possible efforts to ensure that a negotiated solution will always be a more viable alternative to armed conflict in Colombia. We further commit to a future that Colombia deserves: in which violence and weapons of war disappear from politics and everyday life.
Finally, we invite all Colombians to give us the opportunity to reconstruct a country of opportunity for all, to disarm their hearts and words, and empower us to weave a new tapestry of peace, well-being, and social, environmental, and economic justice without discrimination. This is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, because we all have the right to heal our histories, memories, and land.
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