WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
18 Apr 2016 | Video

An Effective Transition to Post-Conflict for Afro-Colombians and Indigenous in Choco, Colombia

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), AFRODES International, The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Global Mission (ELCA), The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and The United Steelworkers (USW) are pleased to invite you to:

Father Sterlin Londoño 
Dioceses of Yuto, Afro-Colombian Pastoral and Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA)

Ivonne Caicedo
Inter-ethnic Choco Solidarity Forum (FISCH) and
Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA)

Zulia Mena
Vice Minister of Culture, Colombia

Armando Benedetti (TBC)
Senator, Colombia

Monday, April 18
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
1666 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20009

A livestream will be available at www.wola.org.

To RSVP, please click here. The event will be in Spanish, and simultaneous interpretation will be provided. For more information, please contact Sebastian Bernal at +1 (202) 797-2171 or [email protected].

For press inquiries, please email [email protected] or call (202) 797-2171.
We hope you can join us.


On March 31, a neo-paramilitary group known as the “Urabeños,” or Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces, ordered a so-called “armed strike” in northern Colombia and the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The strike led to an immediate shut down of commercial activity in the affected areas.

In the department of Choco, a police officer was killed and additional confrontations between the police and the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces were reported. The Regional Pacific Coordination—a coalition of Catholic charity and minority rights groups—the Dioceses of the city of Quibdó, and the Inter-ethnic Choco Solidarity Forum, denounced that the armed strike was causing panic and terror at the local level, and called for the creation of a state policy to end the growing presence of this group.

The recent spike in violence by paramilitary groups highlights the many challenges that the Colombian government will face in the implementation of a potential peace accord. To ensure a just and lasting peace, the government must include local leaders, local communities, and organizations, such as the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights (CONPA and ONIC), in the peace process.

Join Afro-Colombian leaders, Colombian Senator Armando Benedetti, and Colombia’s Vice Minister of Culture for a discussion on the importance of guaranteeing a space for Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities in the transition to a post-conflict Colombia.