Building such community peace at the grassroots is not easy, and too often overlooked. But in 2017, with so much uncertainty about where governments are going, it is vital. And we need to make sure that the voices of all those who believe in justice and peace, and in caring for our planet, are heard loud and clear.
The international community too needs to reconsider its rather complacent stance regarding Colombia's peace process. As it turns out, Colombia is not a 'quick win' scenario for peacemakers. In the past years, valuable international good offices have achieved so much. Now is the time for more decisive political engagement.
I first visited Colombia 10 years ago, when covering the demobilisation of right-wing paramilitary groups that had emerged some two decades earlier to fight Marxist guerrilla soldiers. Since then, I have remained very attached to Colombia and its fate. This month, and a decade on from my first visit, the Colombian government has signed a historic peace agreement with leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, otherwise known as FARC. This accord brings Colombia closer to peace than ever before. Like everyone, who knows and loves Colombia, I wish both parties every success as they try to convert the deal from a piece of paper signed by old commanders tired of war, to a meaningful peace on the ground. But I hold my breath.
States, businesses, and global civil society must take action to neutralise this pandemic of violence and threats and to integrate a human rights approach into the interactions between the state, business, and civil society. Environmental human rights defenders cannot continue to be collateral damage for the share prices of multinationals or the whims of government.
This house might look like it’s made from bricks and mortar, but it’s actually made from plastic. And not just any plastic - waste plastic that’...
With hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty, the world hardly looks like it's getting a better place to live in. And yet, at a time when war in Syria and Ukraine, militarisation in East Asia, and increasing violence in places like Turkey make the headlines, progress in Colombia's peace process suggests there is a remedy to violence, no matter how deeply rooted.