The people of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó have faced threats, stigmatisation and killings because of their decision to resist displacement, embrace nonviolence and work together to create a better world for future generations.
True #PeacePioneers, they are seeking justice for human rights violations, nonviolence in the midst of a conflict zone, and environmental sustainability.
With many economic interests in their lands and the continued presence of illegal armed groups, they remain in grave danger. Since the Community’s formation in 1997, over 200 people have been killed.
It’s because of this high level of risk that the Community relies on the presence of Peace Brigades International to prevent further attacks on its members.
The community produces organic cocoa butter, which it sells to Lush Cosmetics Ltd. From 10-16 March, PBI and Lush shops throughout the UK, Europe and around the world raised awareness of the Community's story. From 17-23 March it was North America's turn.
In 2012, the Colombian Constitutional Court ordered the government to address the conditions of risk that the Peace Community lives under, as well as issues of impunity for past violations of their human rights (Court Order 164, July 2012). However, the Colombian authorities have failed to fully implement this order and attacks against the Community have continued.
7,374 people around the world signed Lush's online petition calling for the implementation of Constitutional Court Order 164 and better protection and access to justice for the Peace Community's members.
In Lush stores in the UK alone more than 9,000 people signed a postcard version of the petition - a huge show of support for the Peace Community and the values it stands for.
Peace Pioneer events
Lush brought two members of the Peace Community, German Graciano and Gildardo Tuburquía, to London as part of the campaign.
German and Gildardo were given tours of Lush shops in Manchester and London and attended a range of events organised around their visit. Many people came to talks and film screenings to learn about the Peace Community and hear them talk about their experiences.
On Wednesday, 26 March there was a special reception at the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Joel Joffe, PBI patron and former lawyer to Nelson Mandela.
More than 80 people attended the reception. The speakers were Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza, Sir Peter Roth (PBI UK Patron and Chair of the Lawyers’ Advisory Committee), Kirsty Brimelow QC (Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee), Gildardo Tuberquía (San José de Apartadó Peace Community), Simon Constantine (Head of Buying at Lush), His Excellency Mr Nestor Osorio (Colombian Ambassador), Archie Young (Head of South America, Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
What can you do?
The presence of international organisations like PBI in the Peace Community means real protection for its members.
You can help us to continue this work by donating to PBI:
On behalf of PBI and the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, thank you for your support!