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Statement on Continued Violence in Colombia

The Caritas Internationalis Colombia Working Group, of which SCIAF is a member, has issued a statement on the urgent need for dialogue in the National Strike in Colombia.

The statement comes as violence and extreme unrest continues in Colombia following almost a month of strikes. Many young people and union groups have taken to the streets to demand action from the government, but as the death toll increases and violence intensifies there is an urgent need for communication.

 “The Church, in Colombia and internationally, considers that there is an urgent need for reconciliation among the Colombian people based on a resounding rejection of violence and respect for human rights, especially the right to life and peace. This reconciliation process requires a commitment to listen to, and recognise, all those involved, including young people who are seeing their futures cut short. Reconciliation also requires real transformations.

"Through this statement, we wish to recognise and support the role of the Colombian Church in promoting a dialogue-based and inclusive solution to the conflict that has arisen in the context of the National Strike between various civil society sectors (including young people, trade unions, indigenous communities and others) and the national government. The Church’s role, jointly with the United Nations, in accompanying the dialogue, is taking place in different territories across the country, and nationally, with the active involvement of the bishops, the clergy and their social ministry teams.

"The Caritas Internationalis network wishes to support this essential work of the Colombian Church, and to call on the sectors involved to participate actively in spaces that have opened up for dialogue and alternatives to violence, seeking to build a country that will overcome poverty and social injustice.”

 *The Colombia Working Group (GTC) is a platform made up of organisations from the Caritas network of the Catholic Church in Europe and the United States which, together with the National Secretariat for Social Ministry (SNPS) – Caritas Colombiana – promote actions to benefit peace building and reconciliation in Colombia. Its members have been promoting humanitarian, social cohesion, reconciliation and peace programmes in Colombia for many years, with their own funds or through funds provided by their governments and the European Union.

You can find out more about SCIAF’s work in Colombia here.