Martin Nates, director of Justapaz, and Diana Archilla, lawyer and coordinator of the Peace & Reconciliation Programme of Justapaz, met with WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, as well as other WCC staff, and also met with Colombian Ambassador H.E. Gustavo Gallon at the Ecumenical Centre.
“We have been working for 30 years with evangelical and Christian churches, and social movements, to promote peace, human rights, and access to justice,” explained Nates.
The Justapaz team presented a video that portrayed testimonies and voices of church leaders and organizations related to Justapaz’s work in peace-building.
Justapaz also supports the prevention of forced disappearances, working with churches in 35 different territories of Colombia.
Archilla described the humanitarian aspect of Justapaz’s work. “There was a bilateral ceasefire from the government with some of the armed groups, but those groups don’t carry out those bilateral ceasefires amongst themselves, so that leads to attacks between them—with the population being in the middle,” she said.
In addition, young men are often forcibly displaced, she added.
“When you are 18 years old, the state obligates men to carry out their military service, so this leads to a situation in which that young person cannot return to his territory because the armed group says he’s working with the state and not with them—and therefore he is forcibly displaced,” said Archilla.
Pillay shared with Justapaz details on how the WCC, with the Colombian Episcopal Conference, United Nations Mission in Colombia, and Organization of American States, has been appointed as a permanent accompanier for peace talks with the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) FARC-EP in Colombia.