Recent CPTnet stories

Prayers for Peacemakers. 16 February 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 16 February 2017

Sometimes we may think that people joining various state and non-state military and armed groups do so out of conviction. However, that does not entirely reflect reality. Large numbers of men and women have joined armies because of economic conditions, lack of opportunities, limited access to education and other situations of inequality. Many others were forcibly recruited by militias and armies. Many have joined in reaction to oppression and violence against their communities. This is not an apology or justification of war. It is humanizing war.

In the past weeks in Colombia thousands of former members of the FARC began to gather in the so called 'concentration zones' where they relinquish their weapons and begin processes of reintegration into civil society. 

Let us pray for all our sisters and brothers who had been forced to become elements of war. Pray for those who have decided to put down their weapons so that they will have all means needed to accomplish the process of transformation successfully. Pray that the lives of those who chose peace instead of war be protected from vengeance of the opposing armed groups.

 FARC member and her baby

Photo credit: Radio Santafe

COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Memory is resistance

CPTnet
10 February 2017
COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Memory is resistance

 by Katherine Crosby

 

“In spite of all the persecution, today we are still here.”

                      ~ A Social Leader in Colombia

 

Our team arrived in Bogotá and has set up with cameras, hats, banners, drums, and megaphone. We begin our march toward the plaza at the center of the city. I am holding one side of a banner that reaches from above my head down to the ground; it stretches across about three feet to my companion holding the other side. I pause to examine the Colombia shaped black silhouette painted across the fabric. Inside of the map are several white dots of varying sizes, each placed in a different one of Colombia’s departments or provinces. The bold, black number on each dot represents how many social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed in each department since the beginning of 2016: 123 in total.

CPTers stand with a banner: Silencio es violencia

For the past three weeks, our group has been in Colombia as trainees with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 February 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 February 2017

Today, let us celebrate the successful accomplishment of the intensive month-long training for peacemakers that has just ended in Fusagasugá, Colombia. Let us give thanks for the nine wonderful peacemakers from Colombia, Argentina, India, Poland, Australia, Canada and United States who are joining Christian Peacemaker Teams in our worldwide mission to "build partnerships that transform violence and oppression."

Please pray for God's guidance for the new members of the CPT Corps as they discern new commitments with various CPT projects and navigate personal and organizational situations.

Graduates of the CPT training Colombia 2017

Graduates of the CPT training, Colombia 2017

COLOMBIA: Justice Denied

CPTnet

6 February 2017

COLOMBIA: Justice Denied 

by Kody Hersh 

Mid-January, 2017. I am about two weeks into a month-long stint as a reservist with the CPT Colombia team. I’ve visited the rural community of Guayabo, where campesino farmers and their families and communities have been embroiled in an extensive land claim struggle with the son of a former landowner. Though the actions of the people of Guayabo in defense of their land have been legal and nonviolent, local officials, who have sided with the claimant, Rodrigo Lopez Henao, throughout the process, issued arrest warrants several months ago for four community leaders. One, Álvaro García, was arrested at home at the crack of dawn. After going into hiding for six months, seeking legal help, and building a defense, the remaining three community leaders turned themselves in to the authorities. Most accusations against them were immediately dropped for lack of evidence, and they were allowed to return home until the case is resolved– but Álvaro has been held for eight months now, awaiting charges and a hearing at which his lawyers can petition for his release.

The CPT team has been visiting Álvaro regularly in jail in Barrancabermeja, which is several hours by boat from his family and community, and attending hearings in his case. I join my CPT teammate at a hearing in which Álvaro’s lawyers hope to conclude opening arguments and move closer to the point at which they can request his release. We wait an hour in a cramped reception area: Álvaro, two prison guards, several family and community members, lawyers from a Colombian human rights collective, my teammate and I. Álvaro reaches out with cuffed hands to shake mine when we are introduced. He sings the group a song he’s written in jail about the dignity of campesino work and importance of land justice. Finally the judge calls Álvaro, his guards, and the lawyers into another room. 

My teammate and I wait outside with Álvaro’s friends and family for about two hours, looking out over the city and the Magdalena River from the fourth floor balcony of the court building. Finally, Álvaro emerges, and the guards lead him back out of the building, to return to jail. His main lawyer joins our small group, shakes her head, and explains that completion of that day’s hearing has been postponed two weeks. She asked to continue the hearing within a few days; the judge denied the request.

Justice too long delayed… 

El Guayabo leader

El Guayabo leader, Eric Payares talks to a CPT delegation about their nonviolent resistance.(Caldwell Manners/CPT)

Prayers for Peacemakers. 26 January 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 26 January 2017

Please pray for kak Awat Hassan and his family who CPT Iraqi Kurdistan accompanies day and night after members of the security forces have threatened to kill him. Kak Awat Hassan is a teacher and one of the main organizers of a strike that thousands of teachers have carried on since September 2016. They call on the ruling parties to deal with corruption and to resume payments of the teachers' and other employees' full salaries.

Please pray for the four members of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team who experience exhaustion from the high stress situation as they engage in the full time accompaniment and advocacy work for safety of kak Awat and his family.

Please remember in your prayers the large numbers of civil rights activists, social leaders and journalists who are at high risk of detention, beatings, kidnappings or assassinations in Iraqi Kurdistan, Colombia and around the world.

 

Kak Awat Hassan drinks tea and relfects on death threats against him