CALL FOR NEW FIELD VOLUNTEERS

CALL FOR TRAINING/SELECTION MEETING

PBI Colombia opens the call for applications for the January 2022 Training/Selection Meeting (estimated date: 8-15 January, but will be reconfirmed during the interview process), which we hope will take place in Spain.

The call will be open for applications until 26 September 2021. All applications, with the 3 required references, received by that date will be taken into account for this training and selection process, from which the people selected as volunteers will be incorporated into the Field Teams in Colombia at the end of February 2022, and subsequently also at different moments of incorporation that will be opened in the project.

See more specific information at:

https://www.peacebrigades.org/es/involucrarse/volunteer-field

https://www.peacebrigades.org/es/involucrarse/volunteer-field/FAQ-personas-voluntarias

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Social protest in Colombia: the hope for a dignified life for all

The national strike of 21 November 2019 for many people was a symbol of democracy and the hope of being able to change the status quo in which Colombian society live[1].  For this reason, on November 21, 2019, 253,000 Colombian citizens, according to registered government figures, took to the streets to express their disagreement with the Colombian reality and to demand respect for human rights.

However, that hope was shattered amid riots, abuses and violence experienced by the population on the day itself; the Ministry of Defense reported “122 civilians injured and three dead”[2]. However, these violent events were not just evident that day, but became the norm in the way that the Armed Forces reacted to protestors with violence during the national strike. The Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP), an organization supported by PBI, represents the family of Dilan Cruz[3], a young man shot dead by a police officer on November 23[4]. The case has been sent to the military justice courts,[5] a decision that led Human Rights Watch to recently request that the Colombian Supreme Court take into account that, according to international law, human rights and international standards, Dilan Cruz’s case should be referred to the ordinary justice system[6].

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“The right to freedom of expression is the most essential right in a democracy” Father Javier Giraldo

At the end of last year, in the context of Christmas celebrations, PBI-Colombia met with Father Javier Giraldo, a recognized human rights defender and political and spiritual advisor to the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.[1] During a coffee break in La Holandita, brigadistas from the PBI team in Urabá took advantage of Father Javier’s visit to talk about Constitutional Court ruling T-342/[2]020 that directly pertains to the Peace Community and, indirectly, to the defense of human rights throughout the country.

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Giving One’s Life, but Not the Land

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó’s fight for land, as is the case for many peasant, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian communities, is historic and the most central aspect of their existence.

Today, the need to defend land is more important than ever. A consequence of the Peace Agreement between the former guerrilla group, FARC-EP, and the Colombian government has been a commodification of territories that, due to the armed conflict, were on the periphery of the market system. In the case of the Peace Community, this means defending land from mining companies that have come into the area to exploit the wealth of natural resources. There are several valid mining titles in the rural area of San José de Apartadó[1] and the Peace Community has denounced the constant efforts from mining companies to penetrate the region and their attempts to persuade the local population.[2]

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Buenaventura: a town that won’t give up

The people of Buenaventura have been experiencing an escalation of the conflict since 2020. Today, all eyes are on the port city, because since last December 30, the lives of 170,500 people are at risk due to clashes between “Los Shotas” and “Los Espartanos”, two factions of “La Local”, a group inherited from paramilitarism. So far in 2021, according to the Pacific Regional Ombudsman’s Office, due to more than 38 confrontations that have taken place in the urban area of Buenaventura in January, 907 families – around 2186 people – have had to be forcibly displaced from their neighborhoods and 22 people have been killed, mostly young people between 16 and 35 years old who have refused to be recruited by these groups.

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making space for peace