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WCC welcomes new temporary ceasefire in Colombia

WCC welcomes new temporary ceasefire in Colombia

Youth gathered in Bogota for the "March of the Victims", in 2015. ©Marcelo Schneider/WCC

06 September 2017

“This is another sign of hope from Colombia to the whole world”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) after the announcement that the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) have agreed to a temporary ceasefire.

“The WCC joins the people and churches of Colombia in celebrating this agreement and in encouraging both sides to be inspired by this historic moment and take proactive steps toward effective implementation of a broader peace agreement”, said Tveit.

The announcement on 4 September marks the first concrete step between the two sides in more than 50 years of conflict and comes less than 48 hours before Pope Francis arrives in Colombia for an official visit.

In 2016, the Central Committee of the WCC committed itself “to exploring ways – together with ACT Alliance and other ecumenical partners – to help promote and support the effective participation of churches, faith-based organizations and civil society in the remaining phases of the talks between the government and the FARC-EP and the opening of talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), and to accompany the post-agreement process of approval, implementation and verification of compliance”.

Commenting on the specific role of the churches in the peace process, Tveit underlined that collaboration between Colombia and the international community can enable churches and faith-based organizations (FBOs) to continue to be creative and innovative, to accompany the victims in the territories, and to accompany the re-integration of ex-combatants, particularly children, back into civilian life.

“We call for renewed commitment by the ecumenical community around the world to supporting the churches and the society of Colombia on this journey and in their efforts to contribute to building peace in their country”, added the WCC general secretary.

In 2018, the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace will have a special focus on Colombia. Plans are underway for meetings of the Reference Group and the Theological Study Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs to be held in the country in February.

The length of the ceasefire between ELN and the Colombian government has not been confirmed yet.

WCC Central Committee: Statement on Colombian Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement (25 June 2016)

"WCC welcomes ceasefire agreement in Colombia" (WCC news release from 15 June 2016)

"Colombia peace accord brings both joy and concern" (WCC news release from 19 August 2016)

"WCC welcomes historic step towards peace in Colombia" (WCC news release from 24 September 2015)

"Justice is the key to peace in Colombia" (WCC interview from 31 January 2013)

WCC member churches in Colombia