A walk for Life and Peace in Colombia
July 15, 2019
Violence against social leaders; many of them Afro-Colombian and indigenous, has increased dramatically since the signing of the peace accords in 2016. Every three days a social leader is murdered in Colombia. More than 700 social activists and members of The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC) have been murdered since the peace agreement was signed. Colombia’s Ombudsman has said that almost half of threats and other forms of intimidation committed against social activists were targeted at women.
Civil society groups in Toronto will undertake a five kilometer walk for Life and Peace in Colombia as part of anInternational Day of Mobilization and Solidarity to draw attention to the alarming numbers of assassinations and threats to social and human rights leaders in Colombia. The walk will take place on July 26th, 2019 at 6:00pm, starting at the Matt Cohen Park. The route includes important points of convergence such as Chrystia Freeland’s office and the statue of Simón Bolívar.
The historic peace agreement between the government of Colombia and the FARC which was applauded by the international community and sectors of Colombian society is under serious threat today – encountering major challenges with political legitimacy and implementation. The Colombian government of Iván Duque has systematically attempted to undermine theagreement and failed to move quickly and reintegrate ex-combatants into civilian life, and dismantle paramilitary armed groups. It has reneged on its commitments to address the needs of the rural population for land. All this is leading to an escalation of violence in which local community leaders are being threatened and killed.
The organizers are calling on the government of Canada to act immediately and pressure the Colombian Government to refrain from further criminalizing social activists and to ensure the protection of life and the human rights of all social leaders in Colombia, some of which are exposed to violence related to Canadian extractive mega projects. In 2018, total bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries reached $2.04 billion, increasing by 18.2 percent from 2017. Canada must ensure its economic interests do not prevail over human, labour and social rights, and its ability to effectively monitor the implementation of a sustainable peace process.
The Walk for Life and Peace is being led by El Profesor Moncayo, known as El Caminante por la Paz, who on June 17, 2007 marched over 1,000 kilometers from Sandoná, Nariño to Bogotá, for the safe return of his son, Pablo Emilio Moncayo. He continues to walk for human rights and peace in Colombia.
For more information see Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/events/419999552060104/?active_tab=about
Walk in Toronto:
First meeting point
Matt Cohen Park (Bloor & Spadina) 6:00 – 6:20 p.m.
Chrystia Freeland’s Office – 344 Bloor St W. 6:25 – 6:35 p.m.
Second meeting point
Yonge Dundas Square 7:25 – 7:35 p.m.
Third meeting point
City Hall. Nathan Phillips Square 7:55 – 8:10 p.m.
Fourth meeting point
Trinity Bellwoods Park – Simón Bolívar statue 9:00 p.m.
The walk is organized by:
CASA – Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance,
LACSN – Latin American & Caribbean Solidarity Network,
Colombia Working Group.