Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Letter of Solidarity: from Pax Christi, ARCWP, Coalition Organizations for Justice in Colombia, Solidarity with RC Bishops, All Advocate for Human Rights and Justice for Afro-Colombian People in Pacific Region

Medellin, May 23, 2017

Most honored bishops of the Colombian Pacific
Archbishop of Cali, Bishop of Buenaventura, Bishop of Tumaco, Bishop of Quibdó, Bishop of Istmina-Tadó, Bishop of Guapi,

(Translated into English by Silvia Brandon Perez)

From Pax Christi Medellin, the National Ecumenical Council for Peace – (Spanish acronym MEP), the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and the Coalition of Social Movements and Organizations of Colombia - (Spanish acronym COMOSOC), we join our voices to the many that have been raised throughout the country to support you and our Afro-Colombian people. These people have accumulated centuries of denial and more than a century of struggles for life, territory, dignity and peace. They have done it in a peaceful way; their organizations and leaders have demanded a real and permanent presence by the Colombian government which systematically continues to condemn them to oblivion and abandonment. It is clear to us and clear to the world's acknowledged perceptions that the centers of power and their beneficiaries reserve the rich geographies of the Pacific, its coasts, its seas, its soil and its subsoil, its forests, its rivers and its fauna for subsequent looting and appropriation for their private coffers. But their populations do not matter to them; we see people's lives and living conditions in a state of utter deterioration and poverty, their fundamental rights such as health, housing, food security and sovereignty, education, work at a living wage, public services, social welfare, political and cultural rights are violated with impunity.  Life deteriorates; there are no objective conditions for peace. The ambitions of national minorities linked to political, economic, and military power and to the power of the mass media have made our Pacific Coast a broad geography for the humiliation and death of its inhabitants. And have made of the land, its richness and its immense biodiversity, a scene of devastation and usurpation. The voracious appetite of the multinationals justified by national policies is one of the greatest causes of the impoverishment of the land and its people

As Christian men and women and members of the church who join their efforts for peace to those of social and popular organizations, we thank you for your prophetic bravery and pastoral courage. Because you have raised your voice to accompany your people and their struggles, to protect the life, territory and dignity of your oppressed sisters and brothers. That attitude evangelizes us and fills us with joy and hope. And it invites us to make the cause of our Afro-Colombian peoples and particularly of the Colombian Pacific, the cause of us all. "We are all Pacific" and we understand that the peace in all of Colombia is played out today in that immense region secularly forgotten by the central powers. Your commitment, brother bishops, moves us to commit ourselves more firmly in the national and international dissemination of the facts of violation of human rights, violation of the rights of peoples and violation of the rights of the Earth with the consent of the national government.    

We accompany you, brother bishops, and we are fraternally with you.

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