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Colombia

Colombia

Colombia is emerging from a 60-year long armed conflict which has raged between the government forces, the right-wing, and leftist insurgents. Far from complete, the hope of real peace is nevertheless giving some space to society, both local and international, to address problems caused by the displacement and age-long discrimination of indigenous people and Afro-Colombians. Following the civil war, Colombia is a country with huge problems of unexploded ordnance and landmines, and thereby a large number of people disabled by mine accidents. Gender discrimination and violence against women are common. Colombia has committed itself to ensure equality between its nationals regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or origin, but there are also forces working against this progress, such as corruption, militia, and gangs benefitting from the trade on narcotics, and to some extent the private sector companies and individuals involved in illegal mining and land-grabbing.

Key words: human rights, peace, indigenous peoples, ethnic communities, women, gender, disaster risk reduction, capacity building, climate justice, environment

Implementing partner: Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Department for World Service (DWS)

Project description:

The Colombia country program of the Lutheran World Federation addresses the protection of land and regional rights, the protection of livelihoods, environmental and climate justice, the promotion of community-based justice and peace, and disaster risk reduction. The program is implemented in the departments of Chocó, Arauca, Guaviare, and Meta which have greatly suffered from armed conflict and violence as well as extractive industry and illegal mining. There are many internally displaced persons living in the areas, most of which belong to indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians.

The program responds to the suffering and challenges that the decades long armed conflict, poverty, natural disasters, and illegal mining have caused. LWF implements the program both directly with its own staff and through local partner organisations and networks. Expected results are: strategies and policies protect the livelihoods of the local population, more women gain equal access to rights and opportunities, and participate actively in peace building, and promotion of inclusive social processes which reduce violence and conflicts. The local partner organizations of LWF are capable of reducing disaster risks and prepared to respond to disasters. Communities are capable of claiming their rights and local and national frameworks uphold international standards and rights.

Key words: persons with disabilities, empowerment, advocacy, psychosocial support

Implementing partner: Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Department for World Service (DWS)

Project description:

Mine accidents are common in the rural areas of Arauca province as there are many landmines and explosives set by the guerrilla groups during the long-time armed conflict. Landmine accident survivors are often stigmatized, which together with the physical disability causes psychological problems for many of them. Their legal status is also not the same as that of other persons with disabilities, which affects their economic situation.

The project improves living conditions and realization of rights of persons who have a disability resulting from a landmine or unexploded ordnance accident. The aim is that the survivors are empowered and cooperate as change makers through their own organisation, advocating for their rights and raising awareness in communities. The project activities include psychosocial and legal support, development of the mine survivors’ organization ASODIGPAZ, various trainings, and awareness raising of the survivors and their families, as well as trainings on how to prevent new accidents in communities.

Key words: peace building, vulnerable groups, psychological support

Implementing partner: Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia (IELCO)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia is working for the reconciliation and transformation of Colombian society and fighting against social injustice. It is engaged in education, formation of theologians, reconciliation, justice and peace, cooperating with sister churches and other national and international development agencies, reinforcing local, national, and international ecumenical relations.

It is a member church of the Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance.

Project description:

The project is an initiative to implement peace agreements after decades of armed conflict in Colombia. It is implemented in Antioquia province, which has greatly suffered from the conflict and is still an arena of violence and paramilitary group action. The project supports and advances the coexistence of villagers and former guerrillas of FARC, who are settling down in the communities. Project activities include psychosocial support and legal assistance, awareness raising, and skills training. As an expected result the community members will be aware of the contents of the peace agreements, have learned and will be using self-protection mechanisms, and the implementation of the agreements in their communities will be promoted actively.