Statement In Support of Peaceful Means
of Resolving The Conflict In Colombia
In light of confusion which is frequently sewn by groups both on the left and the right about the conflict in Colombia, we feel it important to state, as individuals and groups working very hard to bring justice to those suffering from violence in Colombia, that we do not support any of the armed groups involved in the conflict in Colombia. History has shown that all of the armed actors have engaged and continue to engage in conduct which is violative of human rights and which is undermining the very fabric of Colombian society.
In light of this, we wish to affirmatively state that we act in support of those groups -- e.g., trade union, human rights, indigenous and peasant groups, as well as peace communities -- which are striving to bring about progressive social change in Colombia through peaceful means. While the government and military of Colombia often times accuse these groups as being "guerillas" or "insurgents," we reject such categorizations as false pretexts used to violently attack these groups despite their commitment to peaceful means and ends. Our rejection of such categorizations is shared by respected groups such as the UN High Commission of Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. And, we urge groups working on the Colombia issue, particularly groups in the U.S., to take all efforts not to act in ways which mirror those of the Colombian government and military by confusing the work of those involved in peaceful efforts with those which are not.
We believe that supporting these peaceful groups alone is the only way to bring about long-term and productive change in Colombia which will advance the interests of the poor and disenfranchised who are presently under attack in that war-torn country.
Terry Collingsworth (International Labor Rights Fund)
Daniel Kovalik (United Steelworkers of America)