Colombian delegation from the Conference of Religious and the Environmental Committee in Defence of Life visited Brussels for an advocacy tour on the peace process and extractivism

 

28/11/18 - From the 19th through the 23nd of November 2018 a Colombian delegation from the Conference of Religious (CRC), our member organisation in Colombia, and the Environmental Committee in Defence of Life, our partner organisation, visited Brussels. The aim of the visit of Julia Margarita Bautista Polania (CRC) and Jaime Andrés Tocora Lozano (Committee) was to inform civil society members and EU policy makers regarding the implementation of the peace agreement and the extractives situation under the new presidential context.

The visit of the Colombian delegation took place during the Human Rights Week of the European Parliament which enabled them to attend the High Level Conference on the ‘70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. Also the Colombian delegation participated in a panel debate, “The Colombian Peace Process and Extractives Situation Under a New Government: Which EU Responses Are Needed?” that Pax Christi International organised on 20 November with PAX and OIHDACO. During their visit, the delegation met with other civil society members and officials of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU External Action Service (EEAS). 

During the various meetings it was discussed that the Colombian peace process is in a challenging situation right now. Around 80 ex-combatants of the FARC have been killed, and because a sense of lack of protection, some others are losing trust and reincorporating back into armed groups. The new government wants to adopt new laws that go against the commitments under the peace agreement. There’s an increase of threats and killing of human rights defenders, corruption has increased, and extractives companies are expanding their activities. At the same time, there is also hope as the country has a strong civil society.

The delegation expressed gratefulness for the support of European civil society and the EU for peace in their country. They ask the EU to push for the implementation of the peace agreement, for talks between the government and the ELN to continue, and to support human rights defenders. With regard to extractivism, the delegation asked for the sustainable development chapter of the EU trade agreement with Colombia to be respected, to push the government to hold and respect referenda and consultations, to actively participate in the negotiations for the UN binding treaty on human rights and business and to set up complaints mechanisms.

For more information:

  • For a document with key messages in Spanish, click here.
  • For a report for the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia, click here.
  • To read the "Shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding Citizen Participation Mechanisms in Colombia (Popular Consultations, Free, Prior Informed Consultation) and the Human Rights Situation, click here for English and click here for Spanish.
  • For bios of the Colombian delegation, click here.
  • For videos with presentations by the Colombian delegation, click here.
  • For pictures of the advocacy tour in Brussels, click here.
     
Colombia, PAX, OIHDACO, EU External Action Service, Conference of Religious, Environmental Committee in Defence of Life, Julia Margarita Polania, Jaime Andres Tocora Lozano