PBI-Colombia accompanies CSPP president Franklin Castañeda in Washington
On December 9, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project posted, “Important meeting with Senator Bernie Sander’s team as part of the tour with Franklin Castañeda of the Foundation Committee in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (CSPP) in Washington in defence of the right to protest and the implementation of the peace agreement.”
The right to protest
There have been three national strikes and ongoing social protests in Colombia since November 21.
On November 25, Dilan Cruz, an 18-year-old high school student who took part in a protest march in Bogota to demand better access to education died, two days after he was hit on the head by a projectile fired by the ESMAD, Colombia’s riot police.
PBI-Colombia has posted, “Social and peaceful protest is a human right, above all, disproportionate repressions cannot be justified against the civilian population, we ask for guarantees and respect for life.”
Implementation of the peace agreement
The Guardian has reported, “The Duque government inherited the peace process when it came into power in 2018 and has long voiced skepticism of it, cutting funding to its transitional justice mechanism earlier this year.”
Foreign Policy notes, “Under Duque, much of the implementation of the accords has frozen to a near standstill. Nearly one-third of the accord’s 578 provisions have not been implemented at all, and the implementation of another third has barely begun, according to an April report by the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.”
Some have suggested that even less of the peace agreement has been implemented.
And The Conversation has reported, “A May 2019 Gallup poll found that 55% of Colombians doubted that the government would fulfill its commitments.”
CSPP is a human rights organization that, on multiple occasions, has seen its members victim to attacks, assassination attempts, and even murders.
Castañeda has stated, “I am one of the people who is constantly saying that we are grateful to Peace Brigades and other international institutions, because we owe them everything, we owe them life, the possibility of genuinely being able to do something and we all owe it to them.”
“Because if you look closely, there is not one person who has been in the FCSPP for more than two or three years and who has a public role who has not had a concrete attempt against their life, against their family, against their freedom, their good name.”
He adds, “And without a doubt, their role has been fundamental, they have been our right hand, our shield which really helped us to bear this pressure”.
PBI-Colombia has accompanied CSPP since 1998.
To read a recent PBI-Colombia interview with Castañeda, please see “WE NEED GUARANTEES FOR OUR LIVES AND TO CARRY OUT OUR WORK”: FRANKLIN CASTAÑEDA.