As members of organizations and communities protecting unarmed civilians, accompaniers, community partners, and researchers, we met together from 9-11 October for a Unarmed Civilian Protection/Accompaniment ‘Community of Practice’ conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was a place to reflect and think of new accompaniment strategies that allow us to minimize the risk to communities and individuals who are defending human, environmental, social and cultural rights.
The beginning of the conference was marked by news from Palestine and Guatemala. As we were from different organizations that represent communities that work in defence of life around the world, our thoughts were in solidarity with the victims of systemic violence around the world as we stand against the violent actions of these systems of oppression.
With more determination, we began sharing experiences and knowledge that would allow us to evaluate and reflect on our actions. As CPT, we participated by sharing the work of our main pillar of undoing oppressions, as an ethical and political commitment that allows us to build alliances across our various programs. Once again our hearts were with our colleagues in Palestine, who face systematic violence from the Israeli apartheid state. As we expressed in a recent CPT publication, An Invitation to Dialogue in Discomfort, “being a peacemaker and unequivocally advocating nonviolence while recognizing one’s privilege is not so simple or dogmatic.”
We raise our voices, prayers, and discontent with a world where violence intensifies every day. We raise our prayers and we continue working in solidarity for the protection and accompaniment of those who face violence and oppression.
May this be an opportunity to reestablish connections and networks of support and solidarity in the search for social justice that we live out day by day. We pray for all those people who today need a light of hope in the midst of war.
“We at ECAP are unequivocally non-violent; this is a guiding principle of our work. We advocate alongside our partners and support non-violent resistance, and we are not neutral; we stand with the oppressed.”