Petition statement to be delivered to Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, Paula Gaviria, Presidential Advisor on Human Rights, Maria Angela Holguin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Carlos Villegas, Minister of Defense, Jorge Eduardo Loñono, Minister of Justice and 3 other targets (click here to see more)

Protect International Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

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Protect International Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

To be delivered to Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, Paula Gaviria, Presidential Advisor on Human Rights, Maria Angela Holguin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Carlos Villegas, Minister of Defense, Jorge Eduardo Loñono, Minister of Justice and 3 other targets (click here to see more)

Petition Statement

We call on you to ensure the safety and security of international volunteers with Operazione Colomba and Sembrandopaz and guarantee their freedom to provide integral humanitarian accompaniment to the peace community of San Jose de Apartadó, Colombia.
There are currently 1,007 signatures. NEW goal - We need 2,000 signatures!

Petition Background

International volunteers Monica Puto and Silvia de Munari, Italian Catholic lay workers, committed to Catholic Social Doctrine and non-violent action, work with Operazione Colomba, the ‘Non-violent Peace Corps of the Pope Juan XXIII Community, and Sembrandopaz, a Colombian peace and justice organization, in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. The Peace Community is a collective of over 500 subsistence farmers in the region of Urabá, a region known for widespread violence at the hands of variety of armed actors. In the face of such violence, the community declared itself a neutral territory and has non-violently resisted since 1997.Despite trying to be neutral in the midst of the armed conflict over 200 community members have been murdered by these armed groups.
As a result of the recent peace accords with the FARC-EP guerrilla group, and their subsequent relocation to other areas, a power vacuum exists in areas once controlled by the FARC. While the government insists that paramilitarism does not exist, Monica and Silvia, along with other national and international organizations, have seen the presence of illegal armed groups, or neo-paramilitaries, at the same time as the Colombian armed forces operate in the area. According to credible sources, members of the Colombian Armed Forces in Uraba have filed complaints against the women and are planning to ask Immigation to review their migratory status with the hope of neutralizing their accompaniment work with the Peace Community.
Operazione Colomba has been operating in Colombia since 2009 and has a legal agreement with Sembrandopaz to provide support to its volunteers. Volunteers live permanently in the Peace Community. They escort its leaders and members in their movements from a village to another or to the city of Apartadó. Their permanent presence allows the farmers to live in their lands feeling safer. Operazione Colomba volunteers face daily risks and material deprivation, contribute to reducing violence and forced displacements, accompany previously displaced people during the process of returning back to their lands, protect Peace Community leaders and members allowing them to carry on their daily activities.
Operazione Colomba, like its partner Sembrandopaz, works with conflict-affected communities of the Caribbean Coast in Colombia to peacefully reconcile differences and build a better future. However, people opposing the peace process with the guerrillas have stigmatized the work of Operazione Colomba as being ‘a lobby for the FARC’ which puts their lives and work at risk. The harassment of international accompaniment volunteers, like Monica and Silvia, must not stand unchallenged by defenders of human rights and promoters of peace.




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