A Prophetic Call: Colombian Churches Document their Suffering and Hope

February 21, 2013
A Prophetic Call: Colombian Protestant Churches Document Their Suffering and Their Hope

“A Prophetic Call: Colombian Protestant Churches Document Their Suffering and Their Hope”

“A Prophetic Call” is a series of annual reports produced by the Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action  (JUSTAPAZ) and the Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia (CEDECOL) documenting human rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations suffered by people, families, and communities belonging to Protestant and evangelical churches in Colombia. Summary Report 6/7 addresses violations that occurred in 2010 and 2011.

According to the report, in 2010 there were 68 documented cases of human rights and IHL violations against pastors, church leaders, and church members. These cases included a total of 805 victims. In 2011, there were 42 cases of human rights and IHL violations against a total of 244 victims. Neo-paramilitary groups were responsible for the vast majority of these violations. Guerrilla  combatants, and Colombian State Forces were responsible for the rest. Many of the victims of this violence were church leaders, human rights defenders, possessors of coveted land, or simply bystanders.

The report includes numerous recommendations for armed actors and the Colombian and U.S. governments. These include:

  • A cease-fire and negotiations between warring factions. The Colombian government and armed groups must maintain a willingness to dialogue and seek a solution to the conflict as the essential element necessary for ensuring sustainable peace in Colombia.
  • Opportunities for peacebuilding by churches. The Colombian government should guarantee the right to civic participation, religious freedom, and freedom of worship. Armed groups should respect respect pastors and church leaders’ right to life and respect all places of worship. The governments of the US, Canada, and EU should support peace initiatives and develop reconciliation projects with the help of churches.
  • The reduction of military spending and redirection toward socioeconomic aid and peace initiatives. The Colombian government should adjust its budget to give priority to social investment and reduce military spending. The US government should likewise redirect its aid and adjust its federal budget.
  • The protection of IDPs and prevention of further displacement. The Colombian government should implement a public policy for protection and prevention of displacement, and the governments of the US, Canada, and EU should invest in local peace initiatives  and ensure all assistance makes its way to those in need.

To read other recommendations or the 12-page summary in its entirety, please visit: A Prophetic Call: Summary Report 6/7

Speak out against injustice and support our Colombian sisters and brothers as they work toward peace with justice during Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia, April 28-29. To learn more about Days of Prayer and Action, visit: http://washington.mcc.org/days


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