Development and Peace has been proudly supporting many civil society organizations in Colombia since 1971. Organized into movements and networks, these groups work to defend indigenous rights, empower women, promote economic development and instil democratic rights.
In addition to working in a context of great insecurity, Colombians also face considerable challenges, such as harassment for their land, providing emergency assistance to displaced persons and restoring cultural identity, amongst others.
In this country, where the defence of human dignity is a path strewn with pitfalls, we support many partners who have the courage to find solutions that are creative, nonviolent and that lead to change.
This umbrella organization works at the national level defending the rights of the displaced and marginalized, including the afro-Colombian communities of the Chocó region. These communities are fighting for their right to live and work on their land.Since the late 1990s, they have been harassed, displaced and persecuted for their land so that large firms can grow African palm for the production of agrofuels.Thanks to the interventions of Justicia y Paz, communities have obtained recognition of their land rights. Also, humanitarian zones have been established where the armed forces are forbidden to enter. Although, these communities still face many threats, their achievements strengthen their resolve to continue in their struggle for justice.In the video below, women living in a protected zone share their experiences:
Many of these communities are haunted by experiences of extreme violence. Here is testimony about the intimidation that occurs on their land:
As the evening sun set on March 18th, approximately sixty hooded men stormed the home of Mrs. Marleny Benitez in the Chocó region of Colombia, firing guns, while restraining and beating her son and a neighbour, causing significant injury to all.