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Youth group taking part of the "Day of the Victims" march, in Bogota, Colombia, 2015. © Marcelo Schneider/WCC

Youth group taking part of the "Day of the Victims" march, in Bogota, Colombia, 2015. © Marcelo Schneider/WCC

To raise awareness on the work of churches and church-related organizations engaged in peace-building efforts in Colombia, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Caritas Internationalis are promoting an event in New York on 18 August.

Representatives from church-related and civil society organizations in Colombia will share their perspectives regarding the peace process in the country, their existing and future roles to support the implementation of the peace accords and proposals regarding the verification of the ceasefire agreement between the government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) as well as unarmed protection in the territories.

“It will be an opportunity for UN agencies and member states, as well as civil society organizations, to understand the crucial role of faith-based organizations in addressing the issues covered by the peace agreements as well as those issues that remain to be addressed, and the tangible contributions they have made in the promotion of peace with justice,” said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC’s representative to the United Nations and coordinator of the Ecumenical United Nations Office (EUNO).

The list of panelists includes Danilo Rueda, director of the Interchurch Commission for Justice and Peace; Jenny Neme, director of Justapaz; Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, permanent delegate to United Nations for CARITAS Internationalis and chair of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council; and Jani Rita de Rengifo, board member of CONPAZ (Communities Building Peace in the Territories).

They will share the challenges to the implementation of the peace agreements and a proposal to extend the scope of the recently approved United Nations Security Council Resolution 2261 to “set up a UN political mission in Colombia, approving a team of international observers to monitor disarmament.”

Rev. Gloria Ulloa, from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia and WCC president for Latin America, believes that the commitment of the Colombian churches of working for peace in the country is “deeply inspired by that our God is a God of peace, and that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is one acting as peacemakers to be recognized as His sons and daughters” (Matthew 5:9).

The event in New York is co-sponsored by the ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite Central Committee and Presbyterian Church USA.

WCC welcomes ceasefire agreement in Colombia (WCC press release of 25 June 2016)

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

Ecumenical United Nations Office