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17/12 2013
President Santos apologizes for former public offenses to the Peace Community

 On 10th December, in the context of a ceremony in the presidential Nariño Palace to mark the launch of the Proposal for an Integral Human Rights Policy, the President of the Republic Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, asked our Peace Community for forgiveness, in the following manner:

 

 

 

 "Some years ago, the highest authority of the nation made unjust accusations about the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. The Constitutional Court ordered the State, headed by the President himself, to retract these accusations. Today, in this stage of human rights, before the country, and before the world, carry out this retraction. And I do so with my firm conviction as a democrat, with all the sense of what this retraction means in terms of moral justice for a community that has worked towards a present and a future of peace. We as a State retract ourselves, and as a State we manifest the absolute and unwavering commitment to the respect and protection of human rights, as well as our compliance with the judicial bodies which uphold those rights. I recognise in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó a brave demand for the rights of the Colombian people, which despite having suffered the conflict in flesh and blood has persisted in its purpose to achieve peace for the country. We do not agree with phrases or attitudes of stigmatisation of those who seek peace and reject violence; on the contrary, we consider that all defenders of peace and human rights defenders must be praised and protected. FOR THESE REASONS, WE ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. I ASK FOR FORGIVENESS." 

 With this act, the President wanted to comply - late - with the mandate designated by the Constitutional Court in its Order 164 of the 6th of July 2012, which established in its first resolution an order to the Ministry of the Interior to "within the maximum time frame of one month from the issuing of this Order, coordinate and carry out the proceeding for the official presentation of the retraction of the accusations made against the Peace Community and those who accompany it, and the definition of a procedure to prevent future stigmatisations against the same, as well as the establishment of a single channel of communication in order to reduce the risks of stigmatisation and promote the reconstruction of trust". 

 Opens external link in new windowTo read the entire press release.

Global Campus in Colombia 2013

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, REGIONAL NETWORK AND LAND DESIGN EMPOWERMENT

 

The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó is buying land in the hamlet of ‘Mulatos’. The Tamera peace worker group will live there and be in service for the community to connect more deeply with the original vision for Mulatos and for San José as a whole. 

 

-> For 3 weeks: By living daily together and widely open our ears, eyes and hearts and from the direct and compassion contact between the Global Campus group and the Peace Community villagers, we will together identify next steps of cooperation to arise a concrete and visible Peace Village in Mulatos. With the local families and neighbor members in training, a human, material and expertise support will be offered in the basic infrastructure designs and building with alternative local materials and also support in the landscape planning. 

In parallel, a Opens external link in new windowYouth Peace Camp will be offered to young men and women (13-23 years old) around the topics of reconciliation, trust building, peace visioning, theatre and arts. It would be a social experience combined with technical professional training in needed areas for their lives such as gardening, eco-construction, computer/internet, medicinal plants, solar technologies, and biogas.

-> The 4th week, a session of the rural university will take place in Mulatos with delegates from several Colombian resistance communities. 

 

Opens external link in new windowFor more information

 

If you want to support, you can participate Opens external link in new windowin different ways.

 

28/08 2012
Colombia’s Invisible War: An Interview with Jesus Emilio Tuberquia

Jesus Emilio Tuberquia’s life is at risk every time he leaves his home. As the legal representative and a founding member of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado in northern Colombia, he suffers constant death threats and has survived several attempts on his life.

The full interview is Opens external link in new windowhere

 

 

 

 

09/07 2012
URGENT ACTION: Amnesty International PARAMILITARIES THREATEN PEACE COMMUNITY

URGENT ACTION

PARAMILITARIES THREATEN PEACE COMMUNITY

Members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in northern Colombia have received death threats from paramilitaries. The Colombian armed forces have acknowledged the presence of paramilitaries but failed to protect the civilian population.

On 28 June two members of the Peace Community's Internal Council were followed by 50 paramilitaries carrying weapons whose use is restricted to the armed forces, as they made their way to the neighbouring hamlet of El Porvernir, Antioquia Department. The paramilitaries, who said they were “Gaitanista Forces of Colombia” (Fuerzas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) threatened to kill peasant farmer Fabio Graciano. He had also been threatened with death on 20 June when paramilitaries occupied his family's farm in El Porvenir, next to the Peace Community. His brother Oscar Mario Graciano was threatened with death on 11 May.

On 28 June a paramilitary stayed close to the home of a peasant farmer family in the hamlet of La Esperanza, which is part of the Peace Community, saying that he was “lost” (extraviado). When he was told he should ask the armed forces who were 15 minutes away, he said he did not have permission to approach his employers. The previous day, a member of the Veléz Battalion of the XVII Brigade, some of whose members are apparently implicated in the massacre of eight members of the Peace Community on 21 February 2005, acknowledged that several hamlets of the Peace Community were under control of the paramilitary Gaitanista Forces of Colombia, while others were controlled by guerrilla forces. Over the past few months paramilitaries and members of the armed forces have been seen repeatedly in the area. On 18 June the Peace Community estimated that there were about 400 paramilitaries between the hamlets of El Porvenir and La Esperanza, 100 of them on the land of the Peace Community.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

ν Express concern for the safety of Fabio Graciano, other peasant farmers and members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó whom paramilitaries have threatened to kill; ν Urge the authorities to order full and impartial investigations into these death threats and the massive presence of paramilitaries, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;

ν Remind them that civilians, including the San José de Apartadó Peace Community, have the right not to be drawn into the armed conflict; ν Urge them to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary groups and break their links with the security forces, in line with stated government commitments and recommendations made by the UN and other intergovernmental organizations.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 AUGUST 2012 TO:

President Señor Juan Manuel Santos Presidente de la República, Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-26, Bogotá, Colombia Fax: +57 1 596 0631 Salutation: Dear President Santos/ Excmo. Sr. Presidente Santos

Defence Minister Señor Juan Carlos Pinzón Ministerio de Defensa Carrera 54, no.26-29 Bogotá, Colombia Fax: +57 1 266 1003 Salutation: Dear Minister Pinzón/

Sr. Ministro Pinzón

And copies to: Peace Community Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó AA 243 de Apartadó Antioquia, Colombia

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

 

Opens external link in new windowFor more information

 

 

27/06 2012
Died a leader and visionary of the Peace Community

In the early morning of Wednesday, June 27th, Eduar Lanchero died after a long illness. He had been one of the leading figures in the peace community San José de Apartadó in Colombia. We are very sad and send the Peace Community and Eduar´s family our greetings and deepest sympathy. Eduar´s inspiration will always be with us.

Eduar Lanchero accompanied the Jesuit and human right activist, Javier Giraldo, when the Padre helped found the peace community 15 years ago. Eduar committed himself more and more to the community of peasants and refugees who meet violence and displacement with non-violent resistance. He found the mission of his life in taking a stand for human dignity and justice and sharing the life of the threatened peace community. With his visionary power, he was able to greatly inspire the people around him, giving them courage and the perspective of a globally embedded future community. For years, he has been defamed, accused, and persecuted and was on the death lists of the paramilitaries. His whereabouts and his family had to be kept secret in order to protect them. Eventually, it was not murder, but cancer which took his life.

Sabine Lichtenfels: "Eduar stands for the living power of Christ, he will live and rise again in many people, never giving up as long as violence and injustice reign, always looking for the power that is higher than all the violence, in the name of love and compassion, on behalf of all creatures. "

In this context, we want to start a fundraising campaign. During Eduar´s illness, the Peace Community had to borrow much money to pay the hospital bills and treatment costs. We want to make it easier for them, in these difficult times, to repay the sums. All those who can donate, please use the account below with the word "peace community San José."


„GRACE – Foundation of the Humanization of Money“ 
Raiffeisenbank Zürich 
Clearing 81487 
(PC-Konto der Bank: 87-71996-7) 
BIC: RAIFCH22 
IBAN : CH6181487000009218856 
Account Number: 92188.56

Opens external link in new windowA homage to him. (in spanish)

Let's make blossom in each one of us the seed of his force and vision. No more peace maker will die because of their vision and action for peace!

 

24/02 2012
PBI Colombia: The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó - 15 years of resistance in the midst of armed conflict

At daybreak, all appears calm: one observes pigs and dogs slipping between the houses, and periodically a rooster crows, welcoming the sunny, beautiful day. At 5:30am the morning tranquillity ends and it’s time to get up and start working. Soon thereafter the daily tasks of a rural village begin. While the women start oven fires, fill pots with water, and feed their babies, the men find their machetes and prepare them for work in the fields. Children get ready for school. Is this a normal life? Not entirely.

Concern and uncertainty are prevalent in this community, where members share a recent past of sadness and hopelessness. For decades, this community has lived and continues to live in the midst of an armed conflict. Since the 1970s the guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been present in the region. However, the incursion of paramilitary groups beginning in 1996 escalated the conflict between armed actors and resulted in aggressions directed towards these civilians.(1) But instead of becoming part of the millions of Colombia’s internally displaced population,(2) this community of small farmers came together in 1997 and embarked on a pioneer experiment in the region of Urabá (northwest Colombia): the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, a community that declared themselves neutral in the armed conflict and rejected the presence of all armed groups on their land.

“We will not give up in the face of these weapons, and we will continue working together […] saying ‘no’ to the war.” These are the defiant words of Jesús Emilio Tuberquia,(3) a representative of the community and a fighting man who, with a pleasant smile, proudly wears his traditional, handmade hat.

This year the Peace Community commemorates 15 years of resistance and struggle. These have been 15 dangerous years during which different actors in the conflict have assassinated 210 members of the community,(4) despite demands from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that the Colombian government take measures to protect the population.(5) In September 2011, the community was one of three finalists for the Sájarov Prize for Freedom and Conscience awarded each year by the European Parliament to defenders of freedom. This community of small farmers was nominated for “the courage, resistance, and dedication to the values of peace and justice […] in an environment of brutality and destruction.”(6)

Despite the risks, the community continues to strive for normality in its daily life and its internal organisation because, “You have to be very organised to confront war,” says Berta Tuberquia, one of the community’s representatives. After eight years of resisting forced displacement, the return to the villages in the mountains surrounding the town centre of San José de Apartadó began in 2005. This was an important step for the community’s work and the lives of its members who, after several years of displacement, could return to their farms and cultivate banana, cacao, beans, and fruit for their food supply. It was a successful return for several families who, thanks to the internal strength of their organisation and international accompaniment, managed to re-establish their lives in an area where, according to the community, the pressures and explicit threats of displacement continue to this day.(7)

Several hamlets of the community are partially self-sustaining in terms of their food production and have also been able to sell some agricultural products to earn money. Together with other communities, they also founded the Campesino University, an exchange project between rural communities living in the midst of conflict. This project seeks to show that resistance is something that must be carried out every day. Increasing families’ ability to support themselves has also been an important objective.(8) This courage and unending struggle has led to support from the international community, and for Berta Tuberquia, this is one of their most important achievements.

1 Hernández Delgado, Esperanza: Resistencia civil artesana de paz, Javeriana University, 2004.
2 According to statistics from CODHES, approximately 438.000 Colombians fled the violence between 1996 and 1997 in order to save their lives. “Un País que huye: Desplazamiento y violencia en una nación fragmentada,” CODHES, 2003. 
3 Hernández Delgado, Op. cit. 
4 “San José de Apartadó, el pueblo que escogió vivir en paz,” Terra, 19 October 2011.
5 Resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 24 November 2000. Provisional measures requested by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning Colombia, the Case of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.
6 “Premio Sájarov 2011 a la libertad de conciencia,” European Parliament, 15 December 2011.
7 “Descaro y desfachatez sin límites,” Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, 2 February 2012.
8 “Comunidades de Paz de San José de Apartadó – Universidad Campesina,” Educación para la Solidaridad, 24 March 2011.

 

Opens external link in new windowPARA LEER EL ARTICULO COMPLETO

Fuente: PBI Colombia

 

20/02 2012
Faxjam the President of Colombia on behalf of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó defends its right not to be drawn into Colombia's armed conflict. More than 170 of its members and other local people have been killed or “disappeared“ since 1997.

On 4 February paramilitaries shot at a member of the Peace Community. This is just the latest attack against Community members and local people. Paramilitaries, acting alone or with the security forces, are responsible for most attacks but some are carried out by guerrilla forces. 21 February marks the seventh anniversary of the killing of eight members of the Community, including four children, by paramilitaries operating with the armed forces. In most cases, the Peace Community cannot get justice for human right abuses. We are campaigning to end impunity and achieve greater protection for the Peace Community.

SEND A FAX ONLINE TO THE COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT TO ASK FOR CLEAR AND EFFICIENT SUPPORT AND PROTECTION TO THE PEACE COMMUNITY (from today on until February 27th)

04/02 2012
The Legal Representative of the Peace Community suffers an attempt

For months, week after week, we have been reporting many human rights violations which are a crime against humanity; today there was a serious attack on our Community, once again against our legal representative. All of this is happening and the State does nothing about it, or rather it does a lot with its complicity and shamelessness, letting everything happen. We hope that some day, at some time in the future, humanity will judge all of these crimes against this population that has taken a nonviolent stance against the war.

-Tuesday, January 31, 2012, army troops were moving between the rural districts of Miramar and La Cristalina. Among these troops there were four hooded men, and also among them was an alias ?Muele Gallo,? a demobilized guerrilla fighter who went along threatening farmers and sending messages to everyone in the area that they will be evicted from the land in order to make way for coal mining operations.

 

-Thursday, February 2, 2012, at around 11am, army soldiers damaged a corn field in Mulatos, totally destroying the crops and leaving several families without sustenance.

 

-Today, Saturday February 4, 2012, at around 12:15pm our community suffered an assassination attempt, this time against the legal representative of the Peace Community, Jesús Emilio Tuberquia.  He was walking near the marketplace in Apartadó and he was approached by two paramilitaries carrying handguns and riding a motorcycle. Without a word they shot at him, but fortunately he was able to run and escape unharmed. This occurred only 100 meters from a police checkpoint through which the two subjects passed without being detained.

 

These incidents further demonstrate the close relationship between the State security forces and State institutions and the paramilitaries. We have made numerous reports about the paramilitary bases that exist intact in Nuevo Antioquia, Los Mandarinos, Piedras Blancas, Batata and El Dos, and nothing has been done.

 

Once again we call for national and international solidarity given the seriousness of these incidents. Those who sow death think that their guns will silence us or make us give up on our struggle for life, but they are totally wrong; our struggle for truth, justice, and memory is an integral part of our daily lives.

 

Opens external link in new windowPEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO

FEBRUARY 4, 2012

 

30/01 2012
Ex-paramilitaries sentenced to 20 years for 2005 massacre

Six former paramilitaries have been handed 20 year prison sentences for carrying out the 2005 San Jose de Apartado massacre, reported Radio Caracol Monday.

 

The sentence was the result of a plea bargain, in which each was convicted of homicide of a protected person and aggravated conspiracy. A seventh man was convicted of the latter charge, receiving a three-year sentence.

 

The massacre took place in the villages of Mulatos and La Resbalosa, both in the district of San Jose de Apartado, in the central department of Antioquia.

 

The court was told how on 21 February 2005, Aldo Antonio Agamez Cruz, Javier Enrique Salgado Martinez, Jorge Luis Gutierrez, Juan Alberto Ruiz Yañez, Manuel Antonio Urango Mejía, and Yamid de Jesus Gonzalez Galaraga went to Mulatos and murdered a couple and their two children. The next day, in La Resbalosa, they killed another couple, their child and another adult male.

 

All six were members of the Tolova Heroes Bloc, part of the AUC paramilitary organization, who were accompanying the Colombian military on a patrol of the area. In 2010, Former army Captain Guillermo Gordillo was sentenced to 20 years for his part in the massacre.

 

Later that year, ten members of the Colombian military were acquitted of the massacre when the court accepted that the paramilitaries had parted from the army, during which time the massacre was committed.

 

In 1997 the people of San Jose de Apartado declared themselves a "peace community" and neutral in Colombia's internal conflict. They were placed under the protection of the inter-American Commission on Human Rights, however the community has been consistently targeted by illegal groups, with three community leaders murdered last year.

Opens external link in new window=> Colombia Reports 30.01.12

 

24/12 2011
Interviews of two leaders of the Peace Community in Brussels by Lush TV

Opens external link in new windowHere is an interview that Lush shot with the Lush TV crew in November in Brussels, where we went to meet Jésus Emilio and  Nohelia who were on a speaking tour with Amnesty international and also because they had been nominated for an EU human rights award. 

 

Following this link is a letter to the Colombian President. PLEASE either download as a pdf and post, or simply type your name in the box at the bottom of the main article and hit "send" to send it as a fax to his office. Both links are on the following page: 

 

Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.lush.co.uk/content/view/3091#

 

18/12 2011
Urgent Action Needed for LUSH's cocoa suppliers in Colombia

Paramilitaries have consolidated their presence in the areas around the Peace Community. Despite the fact that the area is heavily militarized, the army does nothing to stop the paramilitaries. Paramilitary action against thePeace Community has increased, and people are at risk of being displaced and killed.

The Peace Community says it will stand strong on its land and will not submit under any circumstances to the rule of these criminals who are supported by the State. They have asked for international solidarity and help to put pressure on the central government, demanding an end to paramilitary action.

Opens external link in new windowTo read the full release from LUSH's webpage

28/11 2011
Paramilitaries are exerting full control in the area

In the last few days we have been reporting on the very difficult situations that we are faced with in the area of our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó; in spite of everything, the State continues being a spectator and an accomplice to all that is happening.

-Today, November 28, around 200 paramilitaries arrived in the rural district of La Esperanza where they have confined the people for several hours, locking them up incommunicado inside the health center. There, according to them, they are going through the background of each person. They have also said that they will stay there and they will be in charge and control everything. They said that they have bought several farms in Playa Larga and the order is that they need the farms, and the owners must sell whether they like it or not. They have already bought three large farms where they will have their bases in Playa Larga and they say that they will do the same in all of the rural districts.

Opens external link in new windowTo read the Peace Community full release (in english)

 

 

26/11 2011
Paramilitaries intrusion in the Peace Community space

In several opportunities, up to 30 paramilitaries entered into the hamlet La Esperanza between November 14th and 22nd to threaten the civilians, farmers living there. They set up checkpoints and stole the food that people were carrying, saying that no one was allowed to bring food to the houses; they had decreed a food blockade and anyone who disobeyed these orders would be killed. There were battles between the paramilitaries and the guerrillas in the rural districts of La Esperanza and Playa Larga, and the civilian population was stuck in the middle. Several families had to flee in the middle of the battle to save their lives. Once again we see evidence of how the paramilitaries, who continue to act in close coordination with the Army, try to use the civilian population as a SHIELD, which is a WAR CRIME. Only a week ago the Peace Community denounced similar events and once again they are repeated.

Opens external link in new windowTo read the full release from the Peace Community (in english)

 

 

31/10 2011
PBI: San José de Apartadó Peace Community nominated for Sakharov human rights prize, 27 September 2011

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó has been nominated for the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, for their “resilience and dedication to the high values of peace and justice.” This nomination is a fundamental show of support for the Peace Community and for so many other communities in Colombia, which engage in the non-violent struggle to preserve their rights in a context of conflict.

 

Source: Opens external link in new windowPBI Colombia (full release)

 

 


Last update:  00:00 08/12 2011

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