AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Assassins of social leaders and uncertainty regarding peace agreements catalyze the Bishops' debate

Thursday, 4 July 2019 peace   paramilitary groups   violence   episcopal conferences  


Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - The Assembly of Bishops of Colombia is currently underway on the theme "The economy at the service of human dignity and the common good" (see Fides, 2/7/2019), but the presentation of the different realities of the dioceses focused attention and reflection on the themes of violence and on the stalemate of the implementation of peace agreements at a social and political level.
Mgr. Juan Carlos Barreto, Bishop of Quibdó, presented a reality which is still suffering due to corruption and lack of opportunities, to the point the Bishop recalled that "the government had to create the Chocò Intersectoral Commission, because on the spot a humanitarian, economic, social and environmental crisis is underway".
"The murder of social leaders and human rights defenders is, without doubt, one of the great concerns that exist today in the country, because it strongly violates the exercise of local democracy and citizen participation", said the director of the National Secretariat of the Social Pastoral (SNPS), Héctor Fabio Henao (see Fides, 17/05/2019).
The other strong concern remains on the Peace Accords, which barely reach 23% of the popular consensus. "The challenges for the Church are many in the task of encouraging and stimulating scenarios of dialogue in which people themselves can participate, help. All of us who feel we are members of the Church must contribute to the reconciliation of Colombia", said Father Darío Echeverri , secretary of the CEC National Reconciliation Commission.
Yesterday, Wednesday 3 July, the delegation of the Colombian Guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN), which remains in Cuba after the freezing of negotiations with the Colombian government, said to wait for a bilateral "ceasefire" and reported to have handed over the documents of the peace process to the guarantor Countries, to the United Nations and to the Vatican, with the expectation that the gesture will serve to restart dialogue. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 4/7/2019)