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Real World Radio interviewed two members of the International Mission of Solidarity with Colombia, organized by the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-VC) in light of the signing of the peace deal between the State and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the referendum where Colombians will decide whether to ratify the deal or not.
Deolinda Carrizo (CLOC) and Martín Drago (Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean) talked about the challenges for peace in this country, the view of peasants in their territories and the need for environmental justice as a condition for social justice.
La Vía Campesina is one of the organizations that is acting as guarantor in the peace process at the request of the Colombian government and FARC with reference to the first issue in the deal, related to land and territories. During its first day (September 20), the Mission was greeted at the National Congress in Bogotá and then travelled to several emblematic areas of the conflict such as Putumayo, Northern Santander, Magdalena, El Meta and Popayán. On Friday they gave a press conference where they shared their conclusions. The delegation of the Mission was made up by members of 16 Latin American, African and European countries and focused on listening to testimonies, gathering demands and learning about several cases of political persecution, disappearances and deaths against peasant families during the war.
The Mission also verified the human rights and land situation faced by peasants to ensure the first point in the peace deal related to the Rural Integral Reform. This reform includes a series of transformations to democratize access to land in the Colombian countryside.
On Friday 23, the Mission presented a preliminary report based on the information gathered during the week.
Deolinda Carrizo, from Argentina, told Real World Radio that CLOC-VC has been demanding peace with justice for Colombian peasants, indigenous people and black communities since its origins, over two decades ago.
“Peasants have been the ones who´ve suffered this situation the most”, said Deolinda. “We welcome the signing of these agreements and this is also the responsibility of La Vía Campesina as guarantor”, she added.
Meanwhile, Martín Drago, representative of Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean highlighted the need to include all social, territorial and also insurgent actors in the process, such as the National Liberation Army, which is close to a negotiation process with the government.
Thus, peasant organizations clearly state that the basis of the social conflict that initiated the five-decade-long armed conflict should be attacked. “The peace deal and the referendum are not the end, but the beginning of the road towards peace”, said Drago.
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