Catholic Peacebuilding Network Meets in Bogota, Colombia

Over the years, CRS has been very involved in the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. They are currently holding their international conference in Bogota, Colombia. Here is their latest communique: 


The 4thInternational Conference of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network is being held June 25th – 29th in Bogota, with the theme: “Creating a climate of reconciliation: opening space for truth, justice and reparation.”

Two-hundred and twenty peace activists, academics, clergy and lay people from Africa, Asia, Europe, USA and Latin America are participating in the conference.

The gathering is taking place in a context of international concern regarding the conflict in Colombia and the resulting humanitarian crisis, as well as concern for conflicts in other parts of the world.

With much heartache, today we received news regarding the tragic events involving the death of 11 representatives from the Department of Valle de Cauca in Colombia who were kidnapped five years ago by the FARC. We hope that the details of the situation are clarified as soon as possible. The truth is fundamental to the process of seeking solutions in an armed conflict, and it is also a basic right of the victims and their families.

The conference expresses its solidarity with the families of all kidnapped victims in Colombia, in particular the families of the representatives from the Department of Valle de Cauca in this sad time, who have struggled for years to ensure the safe return of their loved ones. These kidnappings are extremely painful and affect our entire human family.

We have had the opportunity to visit and listen to displaced and vulnerable people living in poverty and the victims of this conflict. We know of their efforts and contributions to the construction of peace, and we are very impressed with their capacity to reconstruct their lives, their community and their nation.

We encourage the parties involved in the conflict to continue to seek mechanisms that allow for agreements to guarantee the safe return of all victims of kidnapping at the earliest moment possible and an eventual solution to this humanitarian crisis. We will continue to accompany and support the construction of a permanent peace in Colombia.

We unite in prayer for all who have died and will continue to pray for all those bereaved.

May Mary, Queen of Peace, console all those affected by conflict and violence.

On behalf of the SNPS/Caritas Colombiana

Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archdiocese of Barranquilla, President, SNPS/Caritas Colombiana

Mon. Hector Fabio Henao G., Director, SNPS/Caritas Colombiana

On behalf of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Gerard F. Powers, Chairman, Steering Committee, Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Marie Dennis, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and Vice President, Pax Christi International

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J., Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and Vice President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Bishop John Richard, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and Committee on International Policy, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishop Francisco Joao Silota, Diocese of Chimoio and Vice President, Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar

Bishop Thomas Wenski, Diocese of Orlando and Chairman, Committee on International Policy, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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