On July 23, the Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation hosted the conclusion of the National Peace Meeting (Encuentro Nacional de Paz).
The event had been organised by Luis Sandoval on behalf of the National Peace Committee, who stated that a push was needed to give “one hundred days of intense activity to support the peace process” and to facilitate the opening of talks with the ELN.
The national meeting featured 123 organisations and groups in support of peace, among them victims’ groups, the indigenous guard, various academics, representatives from different ethnic backgrounds, women’s groups and notable political figures from Colombia’s Liberal, Democratic Pole, and Green parties.
María Isabel Rueda spoke on behalf of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro’s office, affirming Bogota Humana’s support.
Cumbre Agraria, a coalition of rural groups formed to negotiate with the government during the nationwide agrarian strikes last year, called for an end to the practice of false positives and criminalisation of protestors and activists, noting that the state was “continuing persecution” of its critics.
Restoring the general public’s confidence in the peace process is a difficult task, and one that was explored during the final afternoon’s discussion. The talks raised concerns that the public are receiving incomplete or inaccurate information from the negotiations in Havana.
Also, speakers concluded that there needs to be a focus on reconstructing Colombia’s social fabric through education.
The event concluded with the lighting of a flame at the centre, which is to be extinguished when a peace deal is signed.
The Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation on Calle 26 is open from Monday to Friday and features many ongoing exhibitions and events. For more information visit: www.centromemoria.gov.co
By Amy Farrell