WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Reckoning with Indigenous and Afro Descendant Truth: the Ethnic Chapter of Colombia’s Truth Commission Report Webinar

12:30pm- 2:00pm Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Reckoning with Indigenous and Afrodescendant Truth: The Ethnic Chapter of Colombia’s Truth Commission Report

On June 28, Colombia’s Truth Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition (Comisión para el Esclarecimiento de la Verdad, la Convivencia y la No Repetición) released its final report detailing the violations and infractions committed during Colombia’s decades long internal armed conflict that left the country with over nine million victims. Temporary in nature, the Truth Commission formed one of the three parts of the transitional justice system known as the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (Sistema Integral de Verdad, Justicia, Reparación y No Repetición, SIVJRNR) set up by the 2016 peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) along with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, JEP) and Unit for Persons Deemed to Be Disappeared (Unidad de Búsqueda de Personas dadas por Desaparecidas, UBPD). This lengthy report and its addendum chapters was the result of a herculean research and interview process with some 24,000 people in Colombia and exiled from the country. After its release, the Truth Commission engaged in a brief series of presentations in and outside of Colombia to present its overall findings and recommendations.

While the Truth Commission’s period has ended and a Follow Up and Monitoring Committee set up to advance its recommendations, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Georgetown’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) are launching a series of panels to dig deeper into the findings and recommendations offered in the report. These panels will look at the ethnic and gender components of the report, how the report intersects with U.S. policy and what next steps are required to fulfill the recommendations made by the Commission.

The first panel in this series will examine the Ethnic Chapter of the Truth Commission report. Thanks to the Ethnic Chapter of the 2016 peace accord, Colombia’s transitional justice system integrated a differentiated approach in its work. With a comprehensive, antiracist and differentiated focus this chapter examines how the conflicts in Colombia affected Indigenous, Black, Afro-Colombian, Raizales, Palenquera and Rrom peoples. It also considers how the historical violence faced by these groups intersects with the impact of the armed. This report is unique in that its methodology was developed in consultation with the affected populations taking into account their customs and traditions. It also considers how the historical violence faced by these groups intersects with the impact of the armed conflict. This effort was led by Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Truth Commissioners-Patricia Tobón Yagari and Leyner Palacios. We will talk to them, as well as ethnic civil society leaders about this report and how its recommendations can be advanced at the present moment.

Opening remarks by Dr. Angelo Rivero, Interim Director, Georgetown University’s Center for for Latin American Studies

Patricia Tobon Yagari, former Truth Commissioner

Leyner Palacios,   former Truth Commissioner

Armando Wuoriyu Valbuena, Technical Secretary, Ethnic Commission for Peace

Richard Moreno, Coordinator, National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA)

Moderation by Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli, Director for the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

12:30pm – 2pm

 This webinar will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation.

Please register for the event here.