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Catholic Church Leaders Speak Out

Church leaders have repeatedly spoken out in support of a just and lasting peace in Colombia. The following statements and letters offer a snapshot of the advocacy that Church leaders have done to raise awareness of the crisis in Colombia and to offer solutions for promoting justice and peace.

The National Social Pastoral of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, Catholic Relief Services, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – The Colombian Conflict: For the Rights of the Victims (2010)

This document provides a brief overview of the humanitarian situation in Colombia, identifying key concerns impacting the victims of the conflict and highlighting areas which require improved national and international response.

National Social Pastoral of the Colombian Episcopal Conference (SNPS) and the Caritas Internationalis Confederation: The Colombian Conflict: For the Rights of Victims (2009)

This document addresses recent developments in the conflict in Colombia and its impact on vulnerable communities. It focuses on Colombians forcibly displaced within Colombia and refugees crossing into neighboring countries, and areas that have received limited attention in the past such as widespread gender-based violence, recruitment of children by armed actors and the high rate of landmine victims.

U.S. Church

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Colombia (2008)

The USCCB's website on Colombia lists background information, letters and statements that outline the Bishops' position on the situation in Colombia and policy and advocacy recommendations for how to address the situation.

Statement by Bishop Wenski: Recommendations for Resolving the Situation of Colombian Displaced People and Refugee (2003)

This statement by Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and Chairman, United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's Committee on Migration, was made after he traveled to Colombia and the surrounding region to assess the situation of refugees and displaced people. The statement offers recommendations to more adequately respond to the plight of the affected populations.

Colombian Church

Colombian Episcopal Conference: Message on the 2010 Elections in Colombia: A Complex Year Full of Challenges

This letter written in anticipation of the 2010 elections in Colombia by the Colombian Episcopal Conference calls on political candidates and voters alike to seek the public good that will ultimately lead the country to justice, brotherhood and well-being for all citizens.

Conclusions of the 2008 Assembly of Colombia Bishops

This statement by the Colombian Bishops emphasizes the Church's role in supporting peace and social justice in Colombia, demands the liberation of all hostages and calls for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Colombian Bishops' Conference Statement (2007)

This statement by the Catholic Bishops of Colombia reflects on the current situation in Colombia and the Church's commitments in the face of these challenges.

Colombian Bishops Conference: Ten Principles for the Road Toward Peace (2002)

This statement by the Episcopal Conference of Colombian Bishops, outlines ten principles that they believe will bring about a just and lasting peace for Colombia. They state that these principles "would be useful for the various diocesan and parochial groups, and could equally serve those who bear the responsibility for giving direction for a national policy of lasting peace."

Lessons Learned in Peacebuilding-Colombian National Social Pastoral

This reflection by Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao Gaviria, Director of the National Social Pastoral Secretariat of the Colombian Conference of Catholic Bishops outlines the Colombian Church's experience in peacebuilding.

Bishop's Letter to the Mayors of the Pacific Coast of the Nariño (2008)

This letter by Mons. Gustavo Girón Higuita, Bishop of the Tumaco Diocese, expresses several concerns regarding the situation of Afro-Colombians, indigenous and mestizo communities in this Pacific Coast area of Colombia, including aerial fumigation, ongoing violence and displacement.

Urgent Appeal by Colombian Bishops and Jesuit Leader in Response to Threats Against Community and Church Representatives (Magdalena Medio) (2008)

This statement by two Colombian Bishops and the Jesuit Director of well known regional Development and Peace initiative of Magdalena Medio outlines their concerns about death threats made against human rights and Church workers in this northwestern region of Colombia. It calls on the civilian, military and police authorities and the Colombian Public Ministry to protect the endangered workers and investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

Bishops of the Pacific Coast Speak Out on Systemic Violence — Choco (2007)

This statement, signed by six Catholic Bishops of the Pacific Coast region of Colombia, summarizes their concerns about the violence and humanitarian crisis in the Choco region and includes demands for armed actors to withdraw from civilian areas and that the Colombian government investigate the human rights abuses and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Trade Issues

Colombian Episcopal Conference Statement on Free Trade Agreement (2004)

This statement issued in light negotiations for a free trade agreement between Colombia and the U.S. outlines the Colombian Bishops' concerns regarding such an agreement as it relates to poor people, national sovereignty, food security, agriculture, the environment and other issues.

U.S. and Andean Bishops' statement regarding the Andean Free Trade Agreement (2005) English/Spanish

This statement by U.S. and Andean Bishops raises concerns about the proposed Andean Free Trade Agreement that would include Colombia. Negotiations for this agreement concluded in early 2006.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Trade

The USCCB's website on trade issues lists background information, letters and statements on the Bishops' position on international trade issues, including the Andean Free Trade Agreement that encompasses Colombia.

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