The event, titled “The things that make for peace in Colombia,” offered a glimpse into the current status of the processes in Colombia, with details about the methodology and dynamics of the different levels and formal spaces of dialogue. Discussions also focused on the relevance of having the WCC as a close partner in this process.
In early September 2023, the Colombian government, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, announced that an agreement had been reached with the armed group from Estado Mayor Central (EMC) of FARC-EP to engage in a bilateral and temporary ceasefire and to establish formal peace talks.
The World Council of Churches, the Colombian Episcopal Conference, the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, and the Mission to support the Peace Process of the Organization of American States were appointed as ‘Permanent Accompaniers’ to the peace talks. Their main task is to accompany and encourage the process and, maintain relationships with the negotiators from both sides.
The process of the peace talks is coordinated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace.
“We are pleased to see that the World Council of Churches has accepted this formal accompaniment role,” said Kohon, who added that churches in Colombia are a significant presence in people’s lives. “It’s making a big difference and you can see the confidence it brings to the table.”
Kohon said churches would also have a role at the grassroots level in supporting that civil society, including victims of violence, are heard.
“There is going to be participation of civil society including victims and they will have a role in the process of all this,” she said.
WCC director of international affairs Peter Prove expressed appreciation for Kohon’s remarks, and also her ongoing willingness to provide clear advice during the complex Colombian peace process.
“It’s a nice change to be able to work in a situation like this where things are moving in the right direction, toward peace and reconciliation,” he said.