Saturday, April 12, 2008

Striving for Peace in Colombia: the work of the Peace Brigades International (PBI)

This week I was honored to give two talks about Peace Brigades International (PBI), the political and human rights situation in Colombia and about my experiences as a PBI volunteer from 2004 to 2005 working in Barrancabermeja and Uraba regions. The talks were given to Amnesty International Brighton group, one of the oldest established Amnesty groups in the UK, and to a group of people from all parts at the Friends Meeting House. This second talk was followed by the documentary, "Hasta La Ultima Piedra' (Until the Last Stone) telling the story of San José de Apartadó, a civilian community caught in the crossfire of Colombia’s ongoing conflict between guerrilla, army and paramilitary forces. Having suffered as victims of indiscriminate killing, harassment and displacement, village leaders came together to create a neutral zone, a peace community that refuses access to all armed actors. Hasta la Última Piedra documents the community’s journey towards forging a peaceful and dignified future. There is a photo exhibition on display in the main corridor of the Friends Meeting House from 10th-28th April, marking over 25 years of PBI’s commitment to supporting human right’s defenders across the world. I always feel extremely happy to share my experiences of Colombia. It was an intense year, and one I will never forget. It is through such talks that the human rights situation in Colombia, and in particular the situation of human rights defenders can be visible.

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