More than 80 people attended an event chaired by Lord Joffe, Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer, to honour the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó on 26 March 2014.
The Peace Community celebrated its 17th anniversary on 23 March and was the subject of a campaign by the ethical company Lush Cosmetics throughout March.
Because of their decision to resist displacement and declare themselves neutral in the midst of Colombia’s civil war, the Community’s members have faced threats, stigmatisation and killings. Over 250 people have been killed, and with many economic interests in their lands, and the continued presence of illegal armed groups in Urabá, they remain in grave danger.
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 event at the House of Lords helped to raise Peace Community’s profile among the legal and political community, while celebrating the success of Lush’s campaign.
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).
As a result of Lush’s international campaign, more than 25,000 people signed Lush’s petition calling on the Colombian government to implement Constitutional Court Order 164 to give better protection and access to justice for the Peace Community's members.
At the event, Simon Constantine, Lush’s head of buying, presented a package of these petitions to His Excellency Mr Osario, the Colombian Ambassador to the UK.