2016 Annual Report

2016 has come and gone! This past year was full of change and transition, not only for Colombia, but for the FOR Peace Presence team as well. We said goodbye to our former Executive and Assistant Directors, and welcomed new faces. We saw the fruits of more than four years of negotiating between the FARC guerrilla and Colombian government reach a final peace agreement and, unexpectedly, watched as they were rejected in a national referendum. In December, we were reintroduced to another, albeit slightly altered, peace agreement which, bypassing a second referendum, was approved before the Colombian Congress.

In response to the uncertainty which the referendum brought, Colombia became increasingly dangerous for human rights’ defenders. We were able to continue to provide physical and political accompaniment to our partners, who continued to request our support throughout the year. We are proud to continue to keep our operating expenses low; with only USD 147,345 we were able to carry out our programmatic and operational work. We invite you to read the entire 2016 Annual Report here, and thank you for your ongoing support of our work.

IFOR in the United Nations Human Rights Council

Para la versión en español, haz clic aquí.

On March 22, during the general debate following the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the situation of Human Rights in Colombia, Martina Lanza from IFOR delivered a statement that spoke to the experiences of its members in Colombia.

Click on the picture to watch the video – Chapter 5


This Land is Their Land: A Case for Indigenous Land Rights

Para la versión en español, haz clic aquí.

Written by Kati Hinman, Human Rights Accompanier at FOR Peace Presence, from San José de Apartadó. Originally published in Charged Affairs. 

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Mountains of Urabá

¨We are sitting on gold,¨ he said, looking out past the few small houses towards the mountains of Urabá, a region of northern Colombia that has been a hotbed of the armed conflict. Having grown up in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartadó, he was well aware of the price for their land. For 20 years, the Peace Community has remained neutral in the conflict, and non-violently resisted armed actors fighting to dominate their territory. Since the Peace Community’s founding, over 180 of its members have been assassinated,  amongst hundreds of additional human rights violations. After the signing of the peace accords last year, they continue to resist various threats to their rights. The region has a huge reserve of coal, and they fear that multinational corporations will eventually push them out to build mines.


Life and Death in Buenaventura: A Continuing Story of Forced Displacement

Para la versión en español, haz clic aquí.

Written by Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, FOR Peace Presence accompanier, 2/17/2017

The day I arrived in Colombia to begin my new position as an international human rights accompanier, the decaying, mangled bodies of Afro-Colombian community activist Emilsen Manyoma Mosquera and her partner Joe Javier Rodallega were found on the outskirts of their Buenaventura neighborhood. A few days prior, the couple had been kidnapped by a group of people allegedly pertaining to one of the strongest neo-paramilitary drug-trafficking groups in the country, called “Los Urabeños“.


Emilsen Manyoma Mosquera, prominent human rights activist in Buenaventura, was kidnapped and then killed.


A letter from John Lindsay-Poland

If you live in the United States, you know that our country is in an emergency, as we respond to the racist fear-mongering of a new presidency. You may be less aware of the continuing emergencies in other nations such as Colombia. But human rights workers there urgently need your support now, too.

On January 29, 2002, the same week that two young volunteers travelled to remote San José de Apartadó to permanently accompany a Peace Community under attack, the then-U.S. president committed himself to eliminating an “axis of evil.” The United States had just begun its war in Afghanistan and passed the Patriot Act under the guise of fighting terrorism. But it was also supporting a war in Colombia. When I and others visited San José the year before, the community’s leaders asked us to accompany them in the aftermath of a massacre that had killed six community leaders in the hamlet of La Unión. We didn’t know – couldn’t know – what it would entail, but we had to say yes.

Since then, the FOR Peace Presence has expanded its accompaniment in Colombia to conscientious objectors, Afro-Colombians resisting neo-paramilitary violence, farmers neighboring the military’s largest training base, and community councils and indigenous reserves in more than a dozen Colombian departments. It has also continued its 24/7 presence in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.