London and Washington, D.C.—In an historic action, 245 politicians from the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland have expressed their collective support for the Colombian peace process in a letter to both sides in the current negotiations, the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC). The politicians from the U.S. Congress, UK Parliament, Irish Parliament, and Northern Ireland Assembly, many of whom supported the peace process in Northern Ireland and some of whom were directly involved, congratulate the two sides for having engaged in talks. In the letter, the signatories, from 16 political parties, encourage the negotiating parties “to consider the possibility of a ceasefire and take the necessary measures to minimise the human cost of the conflict,” emphasizing that for them “the only route to bring an effective and long-lasting peace to Colombia is through dialogue and compromise.” The letter expresses the hope that measures to guarantee the safety of civil society activists will be taken.
The letter was coordinated by Justice for Colombia (JFC), the British NGO with the support of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and a cross party group of politicians.
To read the letter, please click here.
High profile signatories include Congressman George Miller, leading U.S. Democrat on the Labor & Education Committee, the legendary U.S. civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, and Members of the Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights James McGovern, Sam Farr, Janice Schakowsky, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison, and Rosa DeLauro. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness from Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland party leaders Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP and Naomi Long of the Alliance, and leader of the Republic of Ireland’s governing Labour Party Eamon Gilmore also added their names.
UK Member of Parliament Jeffrey Donaldson from the Democratic Unionist Party, and a former British soldier, who has met both President Santos and the FARC peace negotiators in meetings organized by Justice for Colombia (JFC) said, “It is important that the international community support the efforts of both sides to bring one of the world’s longest running conflict to an end,” adding that, “We would never have achieved peace in Northern Ireland without the non partisan international support that all the parties received.”
Mariela Kohon, Director of Justice for Colombia said “It is of huge significance that there is a growing transatlantic alliance of politicians from all parties showing their support for the Colombian peace process, writing to both sides and supporting civil society’s role.”
Gimena Sanchez, Senior Associate at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) stated “Afro-Colombian and indigenous civilians continue to suffer daily due to the armed combat activities that generate humanitarian emergencies and displacements; it is vital that the parties to the conflict heed our legislators’ call to end the conflict and while doing so, diminish its effects on civilians.”
Senior Associate, WOLA
Tel: +1 (202) 797-2171
Director, Justice for Colombia
Tel: +44 7787 821 410 or +44 207 324 2490