In May 2023, Fight for Humanity and its partner Gestos de Paz started a project to raise awareness and build ownership of the recommendations from the Truth Commission report in two municipalities of the Cauca department in Colombia, Cajibio and Popayan that have been severely affected by the conflict.
In the two municipalities, Gestos de Paz organized two events in July and August gathering more than 212 participants including politicians, leaders from social movements, indigenous peoples, women, youth, medias, ex-combatants. These events, called “Dialogues for the ownership of truth and the construction of peace,” focused on four chapters of the Truth Commission report: The historical narrative of the conflict, women’s rights, children rights, and the recommendations to avoid repetition of violence.
“Many people, out of fear, do not tell the truth, said one participant but as another participant declared: “truth is essential to not repeat history.” In many rural areas affected by conflict, the Truth Commission and its final report remain unknown.
According to Mabel Andrade from Gestos de Paz, “Despite the signature of the Peace Agreement in 2016, armed violence is still ongoing in many parts of the country, including here in Cauca. We need to keep working to raise awareness on the realities of the conflict to avoid repetition.”
In addition to these dialogues, a meeting with the candidates for the position of regional Governor took place in September in which they were asked to explain their views on how to better implement the recommendations of the Truth Commission. “It is important that politicians commit to these recommendations, we cannot lose another generation to a new cycle of violence” says a leader from the municipality of Cajibio.
The Truth Commission is one of the three institutions that make up the Colombian Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition created under the 2016 peace agreement. It has worked to shed light on five decades of atrocities and human rights violations committed during the country’s armed conflict and through its report, it promotes recommendations to avoid repetition of the conflict.