New Year greetings from the World Council of Churches (WCC). Over many years the WCC has joined the people and churches of Colombia in their efforts for peace founded on justice, promoting and supporting dialogue as the only path to sustainable peace, and calling for full and effective implementation of commitments to peace. The resumption of negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the ELN, and the bilateral ceasefire announced on 31 December 2022, are warmly welcomed by the WCC as fresh signs of hope in a current global context in which hope and peace are more urgently needed than ever.
The 11th Assembly of the WCC – held in Karlsruhe, Germany, on 31 August-8 September 2022 – called on the WCC and the entire international community “to reaffirm commitment and solidarity with the Colombian government, churches and people and to collaborate in the design, implementation, advocacy and funding for the construction of peace in the country.” I therefore wish to assure you of the WCC’s continuing and renewed commitment and solidarity in this regard, and of our support and accompaniment of the search for peace in Colombia.
I hereby confirm that the WCC would be honoured to be represented on the Roundtable of Dialogue between the Government of Colombia and the ELN, in order to offer our experience in peacebuilding efforts over the 74 years of WCC’s history. After consultation with our member church the Presbyterian Church of Colombia and with DiPAZ (the interchurch platform for dialogue for peace in Colombia), I wish to propose two individuals jointly to represent WCC in this process:
- Dr h.c. Humberto Martin Shikiya, of Argentina, General Secretary of Qonakuy, a Network of Latin American & Caribbean Protestant Universities, and ACT Alliance Goodwill Ambassador for Sustainable Development
- Prof. Dr Fernando Enns of the Hamburg Universität Center for Peace Church Theology, Chair for Theology and Ethics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and a member of the WCC Executive Committee
At the national level in Colombia, WCC is represented by its member church the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and our primary partner in the field of peacebuilding is DiPAZ. We consider it very important that these two key references for WCC should be engaged appropriately in the work of the Roundtable.
I hope that this proposal will meet with your approval, and that through these representatives the work for a just and sustainable peace in Colombia will be strengthened and advanced.
With all our member churches and partners around the world, we pray and hope that each step towards peace will create an environment in which the longstanding injustices and grievances which have fed the conflict in Colombia can be addressed peacefully and resolved sustainably.
Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs