The Protection of People in the midst of conflict is an ethical and political imperative that is a commitment of our humanity

The International Civil Society Organisations signing this statement urge the armed actors in Colombia to guarantee the lives of the communities and people living in the national territory, particularly the areas affected by the indefinite ‘Armed Strike.’ This strike was declared by the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) on the 12 February in the Catatumbo region and the one decreed by the National Liberation Army (ELN) from the 14 to 17 February 2020.

Despite the difficulties, Colombia has decided on a path of peace, moving from war, towards a future where violence is rejected in the handling of social, political, economic and cultural differences. Leaders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are working daily to achieve these aspirations.

Colombia deserves to live in peace, thus we reiterate our call to President Iván Duque’s Government, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other rebel groups to adhere to the rights of Colombians to live in peace, and in that regard to encourage and resume dialogue as the most efficient path to definitely overcoming the armed conflict in Colombia.

The Colombian State and the armed actors are obligated to obey and respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL), this is a legal and ethical commitment to protect people who are not involved in the armed conflict.

As International Civil Society Organisations, as our mandates dictate, we continue to be committed to building sustainable peace with social justice in Colombia. Therefore, we will carry on working together with the victims, with women, with rural communities and those reintegrating into civilian life, and other Colombian Civil Society Organisations who are contributing to building peace.

13 February 2020