WRI Statement on the latest killings of members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia:

The War Resisters' International - an international pacifist network with affiliated groups in about 40 countries countries - was horrified to learn of the torture, killing and mutilation of Luis Eduardo Guerra and seven of his companions, including three children, from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. Horrified, but - unfortunately - not surprised.

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, which celebrates its eighth anniversary on 23 March, has pioneered one of the most inspiring efforts by displaced people to break the cycle of violence. With a deep commitment to nonviolence, they have rejected the presence on their territory of any armed actor - guerrilla, paramilitary or regular army - and are seeking to build a future without arms, without dependence on drugs or cash crops, and in cooperation.

Yet repeatedly they face harassment and threats - to the transport that delivers their harvest to the market, to their lands and crops, and to their very lives. So far more than 130 members of the Peace Community have been killed (about 10 per cent of the total population of the Community). The government - instead of carrying out a thorough investigation into such violence - refuses to acknowledge the Community's commitment to demilitarisation and rejection of all armed force, but rather insists on treating the Peace Community as collaborators with the guerrilla. It is particularly worrying to note that the latest killings follow closely upon the decision of settlements linked with San José to declare themselves "peace zones".

At the same time as criticising the government and army of Colombia itself, it is relevant to point out that Colombia receives more US government aid than any country outside the Middle East. Far from facilitating any opening towards peace, this aid - including the presence of 800 military "advisors" - contributes to the further militarisation of the conflict in Colombia and to security policies that can only bring more death and destruction.

Hope for Colombia lies not with repressive legislation, fumigations or armed force, but with the many people who have chosen nonviolent - women's groups, indigenous groups, syndicalists and youth groups, including WRI's affiliate, la Red Juvenil de Medellín.