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Accepted Paper:

Peace from below – the Colombia Peace Accord seen by afro and indigenous communities in Valle de Cauca (2016-2020)  
Maria Josep Cascant-Sempere (Jaume I University (Spain))

Paper short abstract:

This research documents how Afro-Colombian and indigenous Wounaan communities in the Valle del Cauca have experienced the changes brought by Colombia’s peace agreement. Their voices tell us that despite the agreement, peace is still not a reality for some of the Colombia’s most marginalised people.

Paper long abstract:

The rivers of Valle de Cauca have long been important routes for trafficking weapons and drugs. For decades, the territories around the rivers have been a battleground, both in the conflict between the government and its armed guerrilla opponents, and in the operations of paramilitary groups and armed drug traffickers. Corporate mining companies also have substantial interests in the region.

Some communities in the area have been under ‘cautionary measures’ from the Inter-American Court of Human rights. However, since peace agreement, these communities have witnessed an increase in human rights violations, with diverse armed groups now occupying areas that before the peace agreement were controlled by guerrilla opponents. More recently, COVID19 has aggravated certain aspects of that marginalisation, creating a “double lockdown”.

Two conclusions of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people are the gap between the theory and practice of the peace agreement, and an overwhelming rejection of violence. Communities, organised in their own associations, have responded with their own understandings of peace, and resilience and advocacy strategies. Other national and international NGOs have helped in that effort of building peace from below.

This research was carried out by the Colombian organisation Justicia y Paz and its international partner the Research, Evidence and Learning team at Christian Aid UK. The research is part of a “Ten Years” study exploring changes in the lives of marginalised communities in Colombia and the role of NGOs in supporting that change. This is an ethnographic research, and some short films will be presented.

Panel P45a
Peacebuilding from below – the role of women groups and civil society in conflict resolution I
  Session 1 Monday 28 June, 2021, -