Our challenge to build peace as a society is that it requires a profound ethical transformation.
A group of women from diverse sectors of Colombian society have launched a new peacebuilding initiative, the Ethical Pact for a Country in Peace. The Pact calls on Colombian society, policymakers and the international community to support the ‘transformation’ of Colombian society to a peaceful one, by signing-up to 15 actions.
This civil society activity runs parallel to the formal peace talks currently being held between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and is being driven forward by the Women, Peace and Security Collective for Reflection and Action. Comprising women from multiple sectors of Colombian society – the military, the public sector, religious organisations, ex-combatants, civil society organisations and business – the collective formed out of a process of learning and exchange between the Philippines and Colombia facilitated by peacebuilding NGO Conciliation Resources.
Originating from opposite ends of the Colombian social spectrum, through a challenging process of dialogue, these women now focus on a common goal. The collective provides an example of how diversity can be embraced and used for positive change in a country where social divides run deep.
We must change our thinking from that of winning the war to winning the peace
Rosa Emilia Salamanca, Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE)
The collective supports the peace talks but believes it is necessary to go further and facilitate multiple paths to peace, involving civil society and those normally marginalised in this very patriarchal society, if a sustainable peace is to be found.
We welcome the Government and the insurgency’s commitment to follow through the task of putting an end to armed conflict, thus supporting our desire for peace with this dialogue.
Colectivo de Pensamiento y Acción Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad (Women, Peace and Security Collective for Reflection and Action)
Launching a ‘Pact for Peace’
A launch event on 2 October at the University Javeriana in Bogotá, saw over 330 people – again from a broad section of Colombian society – hear comments from some of those involved in the project and sign up to the Pact. In an especially emotive part of proceedings, twenty women from different regions, occupations, ages and ideologies read out the 15 actions from the Pact.
We have to recognise how to change as a society and how to change ourselves, how to work with others and how to stop categorising people as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Rosa Emilia Salamanca, CIASE
In the coming weeks, the women will be organising a programme of educational and promotional events, with the aim of collating over a million signatures to present to Colombian politicians in February 2014, prior to the presidential elections taking place in April of the same year.
- Read the 15-point Pact for Peace
- Sign-up to the 15-point Pact for Peace
- Visit the Pact for Peace website
Find out more about our work in Colombia:
- Kristian Herbolzheimer's article on citizen participation in the Colombian peace process through forums in Europe (May 2013)
- Commentary on the need for a ceasefire as a confidence-building measure in the peace negotiations (March 2013)