Prayers for Peacemakers 21 June 2018 Colombia
|Pablo Santiago, a social leader from the village of Micoahumado, in the South of Bolívar, marches in Barrancabermeja after the recent
Agrarian Summit on the 2nd of June. Over 200 leaders from the region gathered to formulate a proposal and express concerns around
one of the issues that affect them most – energy and mining policies. Photo: Caldwell Manners/CPT
Pray for the Colombian peacemakers who, in an adverse political context, are still struggling for their rights, despite the threats to the physical and emotional integrity of them and their families.We also ask you to pray for those who wish to continue the system of injustice and inequality and threaten the lives of Christian Peacemaker Team-Colombia’s partners.
Elections just happened. A new government has been elected after the two terms – four years long each—of Juan Manuel Santos presidency. The new President, Ivan Duque, has publicly expressed his disagreement with large sections of the Peace Agreements signed between the Santos government and the FARC-EP guerrilla group. He has not only promised to try to alter them significantly but also managed to push the Senate to postpone the implementation of the judicial muscle that would implement the agreements. This has raised concerns within the international community that praised the agreements as a holistic approach to peace that searches for the truth and reparation to victims.
Moreover, Duque and his party have a political platform that is very much favourable to large business interests. His party and that of the former president Alvaro Uribe Vélez, Duque’s mentor, have historically been named by local human rights organizations as an actor in the conflict financing armed groups. Several political analysts have claimed that the changes he wants to push through Congress will protect large business interests and ignore the needs of small farmers, turn their back to victims and strip the most vulnerable Colombians of their rights.
Although the agreements brought a sense of safety and instilled hope in the hearts of many, the real threats are strong as always. Since the signing of the agreements, over 300 environmental activists, social leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated by armed groups that still exist, whether insurgent, paramilitary or state forces. Unfortunately, the Colombian state has not guaranteed this environment for peace.