Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes the United States can play an important role in fostering and building a just and sustainable peace in Colombia.
(Washington, D.C.) April 4, 2013 — Be a voice for peace and justice in Colombia! Join thousands of activists, students, and people of faith this month as we plan educational public events to stand in solidarity with Colombian communities facing violence and displacement. Now is the time to advocate for U.S. policies that will alleviate, not exacerbate, Colombia's crisis.
In October of 2012, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas began peace negotiations, raising hopes that the decades-long armed conflict in Colombia could finally be coming to an end. Although there appears to be real commitment from both sides, this will be a difficult process; one that must address human rights violations by all parties and provide a space for participation by the nearly five million internally displaced people and other victims and civil society to build a just and lasting peace. Additionally, it will be crucial to reorient U.S. foreign assistance so that it supports the construction of a peaceful society, rather than a military with a troubled and checkered human rights history.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes the United States can play an important role in fostering and building a just and sustainable peace in Colombia. Please join us and the 38 faith leaders who have signed the attached letter (click here, or see PDF on the bottom of this page) to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, outlining the most productive ways in which the U.S. can support Colombia in the pursuit of such a peace.
The voices of people of faith were vital to the successful peace processes in Central America in the 1980s. Your voices, prayers and action are again needed, at this critical moment, for Colombia. Help us continue to build the movement of solidarity with Colombians by joining us for this year's National Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia: Now is the Time for Peace with Justice!
How you can get involved:
• Demand Washington Adopt New U.S. Policies towards Colombia: Sign the grassroots petition to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry advocating for U.S. policies that will work with Colombians to end the armed conflict and support victims of violence. In May, we will deliver the Faith Leaders letter and the grassroots petition to the White House and the State Department, showing the Administration the deep support that exists for this kind of engagement.
• Dedicate a Worship Service to Colombia: On the weekend of April 26th - 29th, hundreds of faith communities in the U.S. and Colombia will incorporate Colombia into the weekly worship service to raise awareness of the spiraling displacement and pray for peace. Please suggest that your faith community leaders hold a worship service focused on Colombia. Worship resources can be found here.
• Organize a Now is the Time... Gathering: Throughout the month, student, church, and community groups will be gathering to learn about Colombian communities facing forced displacement from their homes, encourage participants to sign the grassroots petition and create "Doves for Peace" and/or videos to share with these communities. Please ask your student club, church group, or community organization to consider hosting an educational gathering. Organizing resources can be found here.
• Organize a Now is the Time... Public Vigil: Display the" Doves for Peace" in a public demonstration throughout April. Thousands of these doves, created at educational meetings, will be displayed through public solidarity demonstrations across the country in April. Please ask your student group, congregation, or community organization to consider setting up a public display. Organizing resources can be found here.
Learn more on the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia Facebook page here.