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

“There will never be true peace, until we eliminate hatred within our hearts as a country.”- Peace Community Leader

The following piece and pictures were originally published in Spanish by our Accompanier Dianna E Almanza. 

Peace Community San José de Apartadó: Community House

When I see the sunrise,

I see how mother nature awakens around me,

As if time stood still,

As if this very precise moment that I am living, were to last for a long time,

In which I am caught in a moment of profound tranquility, completely consumed by the grand beauty that surrounds me.

The earth itself that I walk on emits a profound energy, which I can’t even begin to describe,

The energy evokes many emotions within me,

I feel an immense force, an innate connection between the earth, and the guardians of the earth.

I observe the way in which the community takes care of its earth, treating it with such delicacy,

This is the same delicacy I see shown in the looks, caresses and embraces between parents and their children.

Here, I began to understand, with my own flesh and blood, the true meaning of living a life in peace, without hatred.


The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, (Antioquia), Colombia, is a collective of small scale farmers, founded in 1997 in order to resist in the midst of the armed conflict. The small scale farmers declared themselves neutral (they do not interact with any armed group), they practice nonviolence, they don´t allow any arms in their territory and they have to participate in collective working groups. In order to receive more information, in their own words (in Spanish), visit their homepage or follow this link for an introduction to the Peace Community of San José the Apartadó on our homepage in English.

The following pictures represent a selection of the very beginning of a photographic memory[1], which, in my opinion is the most convincing representation of the incredible force, unity, beauty and above all, resilience of the community, from my perspective as International Observer and Accompanier.


[1] The whole collection can be found in the original publication.

Ongoing Crisis in the Naya River

On May 11th and 12th, FORPP participated in a humanitarian mission to the Naya River, along with our partners the Intereclesial Commission of Peace and Justice and CONPAZ, as well as the other accompaniment organizations PBI and Witness for Peace. We went to observe the current threats faced by the communities along the Naya River.


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.


Esta tierra es nuestra: un caso para los derechos territoriales indígenas

For the English version, click here.

Escrito por Kati Hinman, acompanante internacional de FOR Presente por la Paz, desde San José de Apartadó. Publicado originalmente en Charged Affairs.

Montañas del Urabá

“Estamos sentadxs sobre una mina de oro” dijo, mirando atrás de las pocas casitas las montañas del Urabá, una región situada en el noreste de Colombia que ha sido un semillero del conflicto armado. Al haber crecido en la Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó, estaba bien enterado del precio de la tierra. Durante 20 años ahora, la Comunidad ha permanecido neutral ante el conflicto, resistiendo de manera no violenta a los actores armados luchando para dominar su territorio. Desde su creación, alrededor de 180 miembros han sido asesinados, entre centenas de otras violaciones a los derechos humanos. Después de la firma del acuerdo de paz con las FARC, siguen resistiendo a varias amenazas contra sus derechos. La región tiene una reserva enorme de carbón y temen de que empresas multinacionales podrían desalojarles para explotar minas.


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.