The Colombian Conflict: Voices of the Grassroots

Date:

We invite everyone on May 15th at 19:00 to Wynn's Hotel, for the public talk on the Colombian conflict delivered by representatives of various social movements in Colombia who have been in the frontline of the struggle for social justice. We invite different sectors of Irish society to express their solidarity with those who in the grassroots are helping to building up eveyday a new and just society.

Coalition of Social Movements and Organisations of Colombia (CoMoSoc)

May 15th, 19:00 Wynns Hotel

After decades of armed conflict, the real victim is the Colombian people, particularly, the workers, peasants, ethnic minorities and the poor. Social Organisations, Trade Unions, Indigenous and Ethnic groups are and have been at the forefront of the struggle for human and social rights.

To highlight the plight of the Colombian people, a delegation of six Colombian representatives from five different organisations will be in Dublin for a series of meetings on May 15th and 16th 2008. Through these meetings, they intend to highlight the critical humanitarian situation for Colombian people, but as well the many efforts springing out from the grassroots to achieve peace and social justice.

The visit is part of a Europe wide awareness drive by these very courageous people and during their month-long stay in Europe they will have a series of meetings with various MEP’s, MP’s, Trade Unions and support groups in eleven different countries. The four proposals that the Coalition have are as follows:

-A campaign in favour of the right to Freedom of Opinion, Expression and Association in Colombia
-Set-up of a National and International Observatory (regarding the above rights, beginning with cases that have been researched and documented)
-Development of a Truth, Justice and Reparation Committee
-To seek a political solution to the armed conflict

There will be a Public Meeting where they will report the situation in Colombia from their position as grassroots organisers, the realities of Plan Colombia and will talk on the importance of solidarity from the people in Ireland.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, 15 of May at 07:00pm in Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey Street, Dublin 1.

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Who is coming in the CoMoSoc delegation?

Yolanda Becerra Vega, she has been for years a defender of women’s rights, all over the country, but mainly in the region of Magdalena Medio, where the conflict has been particularly virulent. She is the director of the OFP (Popular Women’s Organisation), but also works in the network Women’s Movement Against War and with Human Right defenders in Barrancabermeja town.

Higinio Obispo González. Indigenous leader of the Eperara Siapidaara people’s organisation, ASCIESNA, in Southern Colombia (Nariño). He has worked in the Indigenous people’s rights division of the National Organisation of Indigenous People in Colombia (ONIC). He is also a leading member of the National Indigenous Council of Peace.

Gilberto Luis Martínez Guevara has been a trade unionist since 1974, working in the area of sanitation; he has worked in the health service in Barranquilla in the Caribbean coast. He’s the vicepresident of the National Trade Union Association of Hospital and Clinic workers, ANTHOC, where he works also in the area of human rights. He is also a member of the National Secretariat of CUT (the National Organisation of Trade Unions)

Omar Fernández Obregón. Franciscan priest, he is also a teacher in popular education methods. He is director of the Inter Franciscan Commission of Justice, Peace and Reverence towards Creation, one of the main organisations behind the Movement of Christians for Peace with Justice and Dignity. He’s a member of the group of Fair Trade in the Ecumenical Alliance for Global Action.

Adelmo Carabalí Rodallega is a founding member of the Black Communities Process Organisation (PCN), he’s been active in the defence of the human rights, particularly those of the Afro-descendants communities. He was major, by popular vote, of a municipality until 2007.

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