Error message

Despite widespread optimism that a peace agreement will soon be reached in Havana, the war in Colombia continues, marked by a rise in attacks on human rights defenders. The U.S. Institute of Peace and its co-sponsors held an event to hear four winners of last year’s National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia discuss the challenges they and their fellow advocates face in their regions, and the role of human rights defenders in building sustainable peace in Colombia.

Pictured from left to right, Virginia Bouvier, Francia Elena Márquez Mina, Luz Elena Galeano, Fabián Laverde, William Rivas, Lisa Haugaard, Gimena Sánchez

For the past four years, international humanitarian agencies working in Colombia have sponsored this competitive national prize to acknowledge the courageous work of individuals and of local and regional organizations that work to protect and promote human rights in the country. Four of last year’s five recipients were on hand for the discussion, courtesy of the Swedish humanitarian agency Diakonia, which has sponsored their visit to the U.S. The four represent peasant, Afro-Colombian and women’s organizations, and hail from northern Cauca, Comuna 13 (Medellín), Casanare and the Middle Atrato.

The discussion was co-sponsored by the Washington Office on Latin America and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund. The conversation continued on Twitter with #ColombiaPeaceForum.

Francia Elena Márquez Mina, Speaker
Winner, Defender of the Year, Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN) and Consejo Nacional de Paz Afrocolombiano (CONPA)

Luz Elena Galeano, Speaker
Winner, Social Collective Process of the Year, Mujeres Caminando por la Verdad

Fabián Laverde, Speaker
Winner, Collective Process of the Year, NGO Level, Corporación Social para la Asesoría y Capacitación Comunitaria (COS-PACC)

William Rivas, Speaker
Winner, Recognition, “Lifetime” Organization, El Consejo Comunitario Mayor de la Asociación Campesina Integral de Atrato (COCOMACIA); El Foro Interétnico Solidaridad Chocó, FISCH

Lisa Haugaard, Commentator
Executive Director, Latin America Working Group Education Fund

Gimena Sánchez, Commentator
Senior Associate for the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America

Virginia M. Bouvier, Moderator
Senior Advisor for Peace Processes, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Q&A: Colombia, Guerrillas Reach Accord on Rights for Victims of War

Q&A: Colombia, Guerrillas Reach Accord on Rights for Victims of War

Thursday, December 17, 2015

By: Fred Strasser

Making a peace deal that accommodates the needs of the millions of civilians hurt by Colombia’s 50-year-old conflict has challenged negotiators since talks between the government and the nation’s largest guerrilla group began three years ago. This week, negotiators announced an agreement on victims, completing the fourth item on a six-point agenda that’s aimed at ending hostilities. USIP’s Virginia Bouvier, who was in Havana for the declaration on victims, said the latest accord is another hi...

Peace Processes; Human Rights; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Inclusive Peace Processes Are Key to Ending Violent Conflict

Inclusive Peace Processes Are Key to Ending Violent Conflict

Friday, May 5, 2017

By: Colette Rausch; Tina Luu

Violent conflict, refugee flows, and internal displacements present international policymakers and practitioners today with unprecedented challenges. Tackling these problems requires not only signed peace agreements but also sustainable peace. It is not enough to bring armed actors to the negotiating table, however. To be effective, the peace process needs to be inclusive and participatory. But what constitutes inclusive participation, and how can peacemakers and peacebuilders achieve it in their own, very different societies? Drawing on discussions in a public forum held in early 2017, this Peace Brief looks at the elements of peacebuilding and explains how critical inclusive participation is to that process.

Peace Processes

Myanmar's government -- time for course correction?

Myanmar's government -- time for course correction?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

By: Derek Mitchell

Myanmar at the end of March will mark the first anniversary of the historic ascension to power of the National League for Democracy under its leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Those who experienced the euphoria after the embattled opposition's landslide victory in November 2015 will never forget this unlikely culmination of more than a quarter of a century of struggle -- at the cost of many lives -- for democracy, peace and justice.

Democracy & Governance; Human Rights; Peace Processes

View All Publications