Neutrality in the Colombian Conflict: The role of Peace Communities

Date: Tuesday 19 November 2013

Time: 18.15 - 20.30

Location: Middle Temple, Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT

Jesús Emilio Tuberquia and Arley Tuberquia, members of the Internal Council of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, will present their analysis of the current security situation in light of peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla, and the court orders made by the Colombian Constitutional Court to protect the Community.

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó is an organisation of 500 displaced rural farmers in the Urabá region of North-West Colombia, who have managed to return to many of their settlements by declaring themselves neutral to the armed conflict, using an interpretation of International Humanitarian Law’s principle of distinction. They continue to face serious risks, due to ongoing conflict surrounding large scale commercial interest in their land, as well as reprisals in response to the Community’s struggle to hold human rights violators to account.

The recent security situation on the ground for the Peace Community is dire – only in the last six months there have been disappearances of farmers in their territory, civilians caught in crossfire between armed groups, mass forced displacement, and multiple threats by paramilitary groups to ‘exterminate’ the Peace Community. PBI international observers have accompanied the Community since their foundation in 1997 due to numerous threats against them.

Panel Discussion chaired by

Sir Henry Brooke CMG (PBI UK patron and founding member of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk)


Kirsty Brimelow QC (Bar Human Rights Committee)

Gwen Burnyeat (PBI returned volunteer)

Jesús Emilio Tuberquia and

Arley Tuberquia (Internal Council, Peace

Community of San José de Apartadó)

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