PBI-Colombia accompanies Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation at premiere screening of “Patidescalzas” in Bogota

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On May 26, PBI-Colombia tweeted:

“Today in @centromemoria [the conference Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation in Bogota] we accompany @nydia_erika [the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation/FNEB] at the premiere of the documentary Patidescalzas on #Buenaventura, which pays tribute to black women seekers in their tireless search for truth, justice and reparation, in the midst of 120,000 disappeared people in #Colombia.”

Pikara magazine has previously explained that the women from Buenaventura seeking justice call themselves patidescalzas (or foot-footed or foot-shod), those who usually walk without shoes (and do and say what they think).

That article also notes:

In the district of Buenaventura there are at least 1,200 missing persons, according to data collected by the Mothers for Life association [Madres por la vida] and the Nydia Érika Bautista Foundation (FNEB).

With the delivery of the report ‘Forced disappearance in Buenaventura. Dignify black lives and the struggle of women’, Mothers for Life and the FNEB demand that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) investigate everything that happened in Buenaventura.

“The direct testimonies of the victims on which this report was based show an alarming impunity, racial discrimination and discrimination based on social origin, including in the administration of justice, and serious obstacles to accessing the rights to truth and justice that deepen the historical and structural discrimination of Afro-Colombian families and communities, and in their capacity as victims of the internal armed conflict, which continues to devastate the region.”

Truthout has also provided this additional context:

The 2016 peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was supposed to bring peace to regions like Buenaventura.

Under the accord’s “Ethnic Chapter,” the government would coordinate with Afro-descendant and Indigenous authorities to implement the accord’s provisions, including its security guarantees.

Five years after passage of the accord, its rural reform initiatives and security guarantees are among its least implemented provisions, as are those promoting Indigenous and Afro-descendant collective rights and gender justice.

This lack of implementation has had especially harmful implications for Buenaventura. The majority-Black region has long suffered state abandonment and soaring rates of poverty and unemployment. Residents overwhelmingly lack access to quality health care, education and constant running water.

Gender violence victims in Buenaventura have almost nowhere to turn for protection or justice. In the face of grinding poverty, youth are vulnerable to being pushed into armed groups that are battling to control narco-trafficking and illegal mining.

The Colombian government’s often hostile posture towards Afro-descendant and Indigenous collective territorial rights has not helped.

In 2009, Colombia’s Constitutional Court linked increased armed group violence in Afro-descendants’ communities to the state’s weak institutional backing for their rights.

It recognized three factors driving Afro-descendants’ disproportionately high rates of forced displacement: extreme poverty and exclusion, large-scale mining and agricultural interests, and deficient institutional and legal protection for their collective territorial rights.

The court found that these factors encouraged paramilitary and guerrilla groups to threaten Afro-descendant populations in a bid to get them to flee their territories.

By late 2017, a year after the peace accord was signed, the court found that these conditions had only worsened.

We continue to follow this situation.

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