World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Minute on Colombia

09 January 2001

Adopted by the Central Committee, Potsdam, Germany, 9 January - 6 February 2001.

The United States of America has approved and is implementing its "Plan Colombia." This plan, that includes the provision of additional military equipment and action in Colombian territory was denounced by the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) at its Assembly in Barranquilla, Colombia (14-19 January 2001). This plan has also been denounced in the "Letter of the Excluded" prepared by non-governmental organizations in Latin America and sent to the United Nations last year.

The Latin American churches consider that this plan is adding more violence to the already critical situation in Colombia and there is a serious danger of expansion of the conflict into other Latin American countries. In fact, the neighboring countries are already deploying military forces on their borders with Colombia. As a consequence of this, the number of refugees and displaced people has grown dramatically. In the year 2000, 38,000 people were killed. Thousands more have disappeared, been maimed or displaced from their homes. The Afro-Colombian communities and Indigenous Peoples have been particularly affected.

The churches in Colombia are in dialogue with sister churches in other parts of the world, including the churches in the USA, in order to inform them about the situation and develop joint actions of advocacy and solidarity. The General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA recently led a delegation to Colombia to assess the expansion of violence and seek ways to be supportive of the churches in Colombia and the region.

Convinced that military aid does not help the cause of peace, the Central Committee joins with the CLAI Assembly in opposing this Plan. It expresses its solidarity with the Colombian people, especially the families of those killed, maimed, disappeared or displaced, and with the Colombian churches in their work to support peace. It urges the staff of the Council to intensify its efforts in support of a negotiated peace to end the decades-long violence in Colombia.