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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“To make hope bigger and fear smaller”

We give a big welcome to the five women who have just joined PBI Colombia as field brigadistas. In the midst of the pandemic they have travelled from Italy, Germany, Spain, Norway and France join us in the Colombia project accompanying Colombian human rights defenders. Here they introduce themselves and talk about what has motivated them to work with PBI. Continue reading “To make hope bigger and fear smaller”

making space for peace