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Mission and History

Mission

FOR Peace Presence provides physical safety, political visibility and solidarity by accompanying communities and organizations that embrace active nonviolence to defend life, land and dignity.

About Us

The Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Presence (FORPP) is a non governmental organization dedicated to providing international accompaniment to communities and individuals at risk in Colombia who are working to promote human rights, peace and justice.

Addressing the Post-Agreement Context for Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

Aggressions, death threats and assassinations of human rights defenders have significantly increased since peace talks between the government and the FARC guerrilla began in 2012; additionally opening Colombia to global economic interests poses a direct threat to peaceful alternatives forged by Colombian communities. Excluded from the peace negotiations, human rights defenders are those most adversely affected by the Colombian conflict.

Most of the aggressions (66%) are attributed to neoparamilitary groups. The structural causes of these aggressions are not addressed by the government, aggressions remain in almost complete impunity in fragile judicial system, and the Colombian protection program does not provide an effective and holistic protection to human rights defenders and communities.

Therefore international accompaniment in a “post-accord” Colombia will remain essential for documenting the ongoing structural injustice and for advocating for international and national respect of human rights and recognition of grassroots contributions to a sustainable peace.

FORPP’s work focuses on addressing the underlying causes of conflict and broadening the definition of “peace” as defined by the Colombian government- FARC peace talks to include definitions from human rights defenders and communities who propose sustainable, life-affirming alternatives and non-violent resistance to war.

Providing Physical Presence, Political Accompaniment and Visibility

Apart from our proactive physical presence to dissuade physical attacks, our political accompaniment includes meetings with Colombian civil and military authorities to advise them of international presence and our concerns on the human rights situation; our meetings with embassies, UN and other international institutions, and advocacy in the US and Europe generate political costs to possible aggressors and help to activate a support network to pressure for the respect of human rights.

We provide visibility for the struggles of Colombian civil society through delegations, speaking tours, publications and an online presence, building bridges between communities in the global north and south and contributing to understand better what is going on in Colombia and how the issues here are connected to issues elsewhere.

The hope is that with a great visibility and higher level of international support we can open the political space for the very important work of social movements seeking justice and peace that include the poor/vulnerable and marginalized.

FORPP uses the tool of accompaniment not only to hold governments accountable for basic human rights abuses, but also to hold multinational corporations accountable for environmental devastation and social, economic, and cultural rights abuses in order to limit further damage.

To learn more about our work, read our 2015 Annual Report.

History

San José de Apartadó Team

In 1998, FOR-USA awarded the annual Pfeffer Peace Prize to the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, nominated by the Colombia Support Network. In March 2000, FOR-USA’s Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean (TFLAC) visited the Peace Community for the first time. In January 2002, after several visits,  FOR-USA Colombia Peace Presence (CPP) was established and the new program coordinator and the first two accompaniers arrived in the Community.  Since then we have a permanent presence in this peace community, with a field team of two to three members.

Bogotá Team

In 2005, we established a team in Bogotá to provide support for the San José team, carry out the political work with government officials and the diplomatic core and accompany other Colombian partners who requested accompaniment.

Creation of FOR Peace Presence

In 2011, the FOR USA began a process of restructuring its work, in an effort to focus its staff and resources domestically, strengthening its local chapters and affiliates. Such restructuring called for giving up sole responsibility for the international work represented in the accompaniment project in Colombia. The team on the ground believed in the necessity to continue and in 2014 FOR Peace Presence constituted itself as an independent organization from FOR-USA, registered in Colombia and the United States.

We still maintain close ties with FOR-USA, an organization we have been part of for 11 years. We continue to receive financial support from FOR-USA. A close cooperation exists with Austrian Fellowship of Reconciliation, which has supported and participated in the project since 2007, initially by sending and funding one member of the accompaniment team and later helping to secure a grant from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). A member of FOR Austria is part of our Board. We continue to be part of International FOR, which has an astonishing legacy of peacemakers from around the world.