AMERICA/COLOMBIA - A pact for life and to eliminate violence and intolerance in political confrontation

Tuesday, 22 March 2022 politics   elections   violence   local churches   caritas  

Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - The Fifth pre-electoral report on violence against political, social and municipal leaders - from March 13, 2021 to January 13, 2022 - produced by the Electoral Observation Mission (OEO), reports that in the pre-election calendar of the period analyzed, there were 180 acts of violence against political leaders, representing 39.6% of the total cases. There is an 89.5% increase in violent acts compared to 2017, as well as a 24.1% increase in lethal acts (from 29 to 36) against this leadership. This scenario raises concern because if violence against political leaders has intensified since the pre-election year, the 2022 elections could trigger an even more devastating situation. In fact, legislative elections were held on March 13 to elect representatives to Congress, and the first round of presidential elections is scheduled for May 29 (see Fides 19/2/2022). In order to contribute to the elimination of acts of violence, stigmatization and intolerance linked to political confrontation, the presidents and representatives of the various Colombian political parties have signed the Pact for life, for a peaceful political culture, for democracy and non-violence in elections and political exercise. The President of the Republic, Ivan Duque, the Minister of the Interior, Daniel Palacios, the National Chancellor, Alexander Vega and the Director of Social Pastoral - Caritas, Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao participated in the signing of the pact. The parties pledged to: promote a culture based on recognition and respect for political opponents; publicly reject and denounce to the competent authorities anything that threatens the functioning of democracy; use the space of the media and social networks in a responsible and respectful manner; promote the free and informed exercise of the political rights of all citizens; and promote, respect and recognize the equal participation of women. The "Pact" initiative is promoted by the National Council for Peace, Reconciliation and Coexistence, which is made up of 105 representatives (35 from institutions and 70 from civil society, from 36 sectors) acting as advisory body to the national government. The National Secretariat of Social Pastoral - Caritas Colombia (SNPS-CC), one of the representatives of civil society in the National Council, has accompanied and promoted the Pact with the "Social Dialogue Strategies" project, which aims to de-escalate the violence in the country and the implementation of dialogue mechanisms as a way to peacefully resolve conflicts (see Fides, 26/11/2021). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 22/3/2022)