Please join our sisters and brothers working for a lasting and just peace in Colombia:
“Peace with social justice”—this is the premise on which the Colombian government and the insurgency of the FARC-EP embarked on their negotiations over the past years. And this is also the basis of the bilateral ceasefire agreement, signed a little more than two years ago. Followed by both parties signing a peace agreement which began a path for the implementation of such agreements, a path that has allowed us to dream a different country, reconciled and in peace. Many of us, religious and spiritual leaders of different denominations, creeds and spiritualities, have affirmed our hopes by dreaming of the construction of a new society, each of us from our places proclaiming a pedagogy for peace and reconciliation.
However, the road becomes painful, it seems that the signing of the bilateral ceasefire, the agreements and their implementation have become a kind of “Via dolorosa” in which many social leaders have to offer their lives as peace martyrs. Obscurantism seems to be growing in our social and political contexts. Those people for whom peace is not convenient, gradually take over our country to increase fear in the midst of violence, attacking peace and also our social leaders.
More than a hundred social leaders have been killed since the signing of the agreements, many of them have constantly been accused of being dissidents from the guerrillas, the right to life has been denied; since the last elections the number of murders has grown and it seems that the paramilitary are gradually taking power again and territoriality in Colombia; fear becomes a constant for those of us who work in favour of social justice, the defence of human rights and peace, making the option for the poorest and most vulnerable of society.
As communities of faith, spiritualities and religions, with pain we denounce these deaths as a deplorable act, which threaten the dignity of families and communities, knowing that violence only generates more violence and that, in this sense, no guarantee has been given to non-repetition. We fear that events such as magnicide of the Patriotic Union (UP), in the eighties, will be repeated and once again we call for reconciliation among Colombians.
We cannot forget that we are prophets of our time, that we are called to the construction of peace, but we must not be silent about the injustices that we face. Our option for the spiritual demands from us not to be silent, thus we make a call to the State to ensure the safety of those who work for peace; we make a call to each Colombian so that, in the exercise of building a better society, they reach out to the other and their differences with respect, understanding that difference allows us to rebuild and that in the end we are called to build up a country that holds the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood to our next generations.