Peace Brigades International is profoundly concerned that, on 20 September 2018, the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia, was informed that it was an “irreversible decision of the paramilitaries to eliminate, before the end of 2018, three leaders of the Peace Community”. Among these are included the Community’s Legal Representative, Germán Graciano Posso, who narrowly survived an assassination attempt by paramilitaries on 29 December 2017.

One week after this latest threat, the Peace Community was notified that the Commander of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian National Army had filed a legal action against the Peace Community, alleging that it had violated the fundamental rights “to honour,” “to reputation,” and “to privacy” of the military personnel of that brigade. This despite the fact that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found in June 2017 “serious signs that security agents themselves are acting in collusion with illegal armed groups”.

In recognition of the severity of these threats and stigmatisations, 71 international organisations have signed a letter to the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights in support of the Community. The letter, which can be read here, includes specific requests for investigation, with the purpose of preventing new human rights violations that would cause irreparable damage to the Community.

The Peace Community has been an emblematic example of non-violence throughout the Colombian conflict. On September 5, 2018, Germán Graciano Posso received the National Award for the Defence of Human Rights in the category of “Defender of the Year”. The award was given by Diakonia of Sweden, in recognition of the dignity of the Peace Community’s autonomous processes of peaceful resistance.

PBI has provided security support and accompaniment to the Peace Community since 1997, in recognition of the severity of the security threats they face.

If you share PBI's vision of a world where individuals and communities are free to protect their rights and lands without fear of reprisals and violence, you can help by donating to our Shoulder to Shoulder campaign.