U.S. human rights organizations and activists wish to celebrate Peace Brigades International's Colombia Project on its 15 year anniversary. Without the presence and hard work of PBI Colombia's hundreds of volunteers over the past 15 years, much of the important work on human rights in Colombia would not have been possible.
Congratulations to PBI Colombia on Its Fifteen Years of Service to Human Rights in Colombia
U.S. human rights organizations and activists wish to celebrate Peace Brigades International's Colombia Project on its 15 year anniversary. Without the presence and hard work of PBI Colombia's hundreds of volunteers over the past 15 years, much of the important work on human rights in Colombia would not have been possible. PBI serves the invisible and often thankless role of providing protection to countless human rights defenders and communities who would have otherwise been harmed or silenced in their efforts to advocate for human rights in Colombia.
The present esteemed organizations accompanied by PBI Colombia include the Association for Alternative Social Advancement (MINGA), 'Jose Alvear Restrepo' Lawyers Collective Corporation (CCAJAR), 'Manuel Cepeda Vargas' Foundation, Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services (COS-PACC), Grassroots Women's Organization (OFP), Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers Collective (CALCP), Peasant Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS), Association of the Families of the Detained – Disappeared (ASFADDES), Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL), Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (CSPP), Popular Training Institute (IPC) ant the Inter-church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP). PBI Colombia also accompanies the courageous communities of Cacarica Community of Life, Dignity and Self-determination (CAVIDA), the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and human rights defenders Berenice Celeyta and Jorge Molano.
PBI Colombia's significance is not limited to its daily physical protection of human rights defenders and displaced communities. The organization has spearheaded numerous protection campaigns at the most critical times in Colombia's human rights history. Policymakers in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia, as well as agencies and special mechanisms of the United Nations have greatly relied on PBI Colombia for information on the ground. Its volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the international community and NGOs in areas of Colombia hardest hit by abuses from all of the armed groups, violence, internal armed conflict and displacement. PBI's volunteers have maintained a permanent presence in rural conflict-ridden areas during periods when most international agencies remained in Colombia's cities. PBI's non-interference in the work of the organizations it protects, and the information it provides has educated and inspired thousands of persons around the globe to take action in support of human rights in Colombia. Once retired from PBI, many former volunteers and staff have served as global ambassadors for human rights and the communities accompanied by PBI throughout the world.
PBI's 15 year service to human rights in Colombia has also come with some major hardships. Most notably the disappearance of Claudia and Angel of ASFADDES, numerous assassinations including the 2005 massacre of eight persons in San Jose de Apartadó and countless threats and attempts against the lives of human rights defenders accompanied by PBI, remain sad moments in both Colombia and PBI's history. However, would it not have been for PBI's continued efforts the list of these terrible events would be much longer and the international community would not have acted upon them. Many campaigns and efforts done by these significant communities and organizations would not have come to fruition or may have been handicapped by the fear and violence that PBI helps to keep at bay.
It is a pleasure and honor for our organizations to work with current, former and future PBI Colombia volunteers and staff. We are grateful for all of your efforts and congratulate you on this important anniversary.
Witness for Peace
Washington Office on Latin America
United States Office on Colombia
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
The Center for Justice and International Law
The Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America
The Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians USA
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Manuel Zapata Olivella Center
Latin America Working Group
Institute for Policy Studies, Drug Policy Project
Human Rights First
Fellowship of Reconciliation- Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Center for International Policy
Arturo Escobar, Network for Advocacy in Solidarity with Grassroots Afro-Colombian Communities