Berenice Celeita and Germán Romero to speak on PBI webinar on police violence, October 30

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has tweeted: “Berenice Celeita of the Nomadesc Association and Germán Romero from dhColombia will speak on the ‘Police violence has no borders’ webinar” on October 30.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied NOMADESC since 2011 and Celeita, its president, for more than 20 years. Founded in 1999, NOMADESC is a human rights organization that advises and accompanies organizations working on social, trade union, civic, Indigenous, Afro-descendant, agricultural and women’s issues.

NOMADESC supported the 22-day civic strike in Buenaventura that was attacked by the ESMAD riot police in June 2017. Colombia Reports has noted: “The protests were met with severe police violence that was made public by locals who posted videos of members of the ESMAD riot police unit aiming teargas grenades at unarmed and peaceful protesters and shooting teargas into people’s homes.”

PBI-Colombia also accompanies the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia (dhColombia). This past December, PBI-Colombia accompanied Romero at a meeting with the Canadian embassy in Bogota following a death threat against him.

Last month PBI-Colombia also accompanied dhColombia at a vigil for Manuel Acevedo Fernández who was shot twice by the police at a protest condemning the repeated Tasering and death while in police custody of Javier Ordóñez on September 9.

At that time, dhColombia tweeted: “The torture and sexual violence centers that [police stations] have become must now be disarmed.”

The Bogotá-based human rights group Temblores has documented 40,481 cases of physical violence, 639 homicides and 241 cases of sexual abuse committed by the police since 2017. Last year, Temblores also reported that the ESMAD had killed 34 people since its inception in 1999. Most of those killed were activists within Indigenous, student, or peasant movements and none have resulted in a conviction.

The Peace Brigades International-organized webinar on police violence will also feature Faith Kasina (Kenya), a representative of the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya (Guatemala), a member of Colectivo Nicaragua Nunca Mas (in exile in Costa Rica), and an Indigenous defender from Canada (to be announced shortly).

To register for the webinar, please click here.

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