Owning the process: Public participation in peacemaking
Publication date: 
2002
Accord issue: 
13

In Colombia, rural communities are often trapped between the state, guerrillas and paramilitaries.

Several national peace processes between these groups have failed to protect the civilian population. Originating in popular demonstrations against the kidnapping of the Mayor by guerrillas, the population of Mogotes, with the support of the Catholic Church, developed a ‘project of liberation’ based on popular sovereignty.

Amongst the first of the ‘zones of peace’ to be established in Colombia, Mogotes has been a source of inspiration to communities who have replicated similar processes in their own municipalities.

Monseñor Leonardo Gomez Serna

A Municipal Constituent Assembly was created to oversee a community-developed plan for sustainable development, the creation of a ‘community of peace’ and the end of political corruption.

Monseñor Leonardo Gomez Serna outlines how the project has negotiated independence from the guerrillas and the paramilitaries and altered the local political culture, serving as inspiration for hundreds of ‘zones of peace’ across Colombia.