AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Bishops of the Pacific and Southwest: respect for human rights, peoples and international law

Monday, 13 January 2020 human rights   violence   area crisis   local churches  


Quibdò (Agenzia Fides) - "On several occasions we have drawn attention to the difficulties that many people are experiencing in the Pacific and Southwest region and we have asked the Colombian state for a global solution that resolves the structural causes that are at the basis of the humanitarian crisis… Let us raise our voice as Pastors again and ask to resume the path of peace in the perspective of respect for human rights, peoples' rights and international humanitarian law". This is what the Bishops of the Pacific and of the southwest region of Colombia ask, expressing solidarity and concern about the exacerbation of the conflict in the Chocò department, in the diocese of Quibdò and in other regions of this area of the country (see Fides 18/6/2019; 17/4/2019; 12/10/2017; 2/10/2017; 1/9/2017).
These are territories where mainly indigenous and afro-descendant communities live, who live "a dramatic situation", for this reason the Bishops, through their press release entitled "Strengthening the construction of peace in the face of the escalation of the conflict", appeal to the National Government and to other state bodies, "to establish conditions for a dignified life and mechanisms of protection for communities and social leaders". They also ask for attention "for possible collusions between members of the Public Force and illegal groups, reported by social and human rights organizations and the diocese of Quibdó in previous years and reiterated in the past two years". For their part, "armed groups must be aware of their status as aggressors of the civilian population and therefore accept the refusal they are subject to because of their criminal actions".
At the beginning of the new year, among the many concerns in which so many Colombian citizens live, the Bishops reiterated the need to find political and peaceful solutions to the armed conflict, with the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) to reach a peace agreement, and with the AGC (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia) and other similar structures. "We await the sincere response of the various protagonists, through concrete gestures of an authentic will for peace", conclude the statement, asking the Colombian people to "pray and commit themselves to building a fair, fraternal and violence-free country". The document is signed by the Archbishops and ordinary Bishops of Cali, Popayán, Quibdó, Istmina - Tadó, Apartadó, Mocoa - Sibundoy, Buenaventura, Ipiales, Tumaco, Palmira. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 13/1/2020)