Peace Forum Held in London - Mesa Por La Paz De Colombia  

 

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May 2013

 

 

A delegation of five cross-party representatives and the Secretary from the Congressional Peace Commission of the Colombian Congress visited London from 19 - 20 May to promote public participation in the Colombia peace process.

 

They participated in a Peace Forum in London on Sunday 19 May (download flyer here) which was convened by a number of UK-based organisations and academics, including Conciliation Resources, Justice for Colombia, Mesa Permanente por la Paz, Rodeemos el Diálogo and  ABColombia.

 

The congressional delegation was in London to listen to the voices of the Colombian diaspora and to increase social and institutional support in the UK for the peace efforts in Colombia.

 

 

Ending five decades of conflict

 

The Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been engaging in peace talks in Oslo and Havana since October 2012. Their aim is to end almost five decades of armed conflict that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced millions of people.

 

Both sides share an understanding that public participation is essential for the success of the peace talks. The Commission for Peace of the Colombian Congress has therefore organised several Peace Forums across Colombia, with technical support from the United Nations.

 

The voice of the diaspora

 

To enable the Colombian diaspora to be part of the peace process, a group of Europe-based NGOs, academic institutions, and other organisations have combined efforts to organise similar Forums in London, Brussels, Paris and Barcelona. This is a unique innovation in the global practice of peacemaking.

 

Colombians living in the United Kingdom were invited to participate in the forum on 19 May and approximately 150 Colombians attended and presented their proposals for a peaceful future. Following the forum, the Congress delegation will now hand over their proposals to the two parties at the negotiating table.

 

Cross-party delegation

 

The members of Congress who participated in the Peace Forum included: José Joaquín Camelo Ramos (Partido Liberal), Coordinator; Gloria Stella Díaz Ortiz (Movimiento MIRA); Hernando Hernández Tapasco (Polo Democrático Alternativo); Juan Carlos Martínez Gutiérrez (Partido de la U) and Mercedes Rincón Espinel (Cambio Radical). They were also accompanied by Alberto Almonacid, Secretary of the Peace Committee in the House of Representatives.

 

 

 

More information:

 

• Watch a video of the introductory speeches by the congressional delegation here (in Spanish).

• Read more about the London event on the Colombian Congress website here (in Spanish).

 


Photos from the Peace Forum:

All photo credits: ABColombia

 

Participants sign the final proposals

 

Each discussion group selected a spokesperson to present the final proposals for peace with the full audience in the plenary session

 

 

 

Member of Congress Gloria Stella Díaz Ortiz addresses the audience at the event, accompanied by the other members of the congressional delegation

 

Musicians perform as part of the 'acto simbólico' and a minute's silence was held in memory of the victims of the Colombian conflict

 

Kristian Herbolzheimer from Conciliation Resources concludes the event

 

Participants sign the final proposals

 

 

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