The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó delegates from other Colombian peace communities and visitors from 14 countries met in settlements La Unión and San Josesito de Apartadó (where the Community resettled after police installed themselves on the territory of the original community) in the municipality of Apartadó, Antioquia province.

While people keep demanding the whole truth and justice about the systematic violation of human rights in Colombia, the State continues to lose legitimacy, through its violence and corruption, and a parliament that legislates for the benefit of its members. As the first Peace Community completes 10 years of resistance, it counts 178 dead, more than 500 crimes of aggression denounced in 15 petitions presented to President Uribe. This tenth anniversary therefore had the character of a meeting place for various forms of solidarity walking a path of dignity and collective memory. On 23 March, a silent march through the streets of Apartadó passed through the cemetery en route to the centre of San José de Apartadó. During the march, 178 symbolic coffins were left outside the office of public prosecutor to remind this institution of its repeated failure to carry out its constitutional function.

A growing number of communities and organisations, both inside and outside Colombia, are forming links of solidarity and brother/sisterhood with the Community, strengthening its projects for life and territory. Already many of them have been witnesses of the barbarity of the State against communities throughout Colombia and especially against the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. So on 17 March an International Mission of Solidarity with Colombian Communities of Nonviolent Civil Resistance met in Bogotá before travelling on to take part in the tenth anniversary events and the meeting of communities in resistance in the Peace Community itself. International participants came from Austria, Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the USA. They agreed to work for the legitimatization and international recognition of the humanitarian zones created by this peace community as a mechanism of protection of the civil population in the midst of armed conflict.

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