During its rapid, five-month transformation from a social media group chat into a full-fledged citizen movement, Defendamos la Paz (DLP), or Let’s Defend Peace, has sought to rally political and popular support for the implementation of the FARC peace agreement and the continuation of suspended dialogues with the ELN.
In just a short amount of time, DLP has established itself as an important “umbrella” structure comprised of many key former government and rebel negotiators from both the FARC and ELN peace processes, members of the Congressional Peace Commissions, ex-ministers with diverse political affiliations, victims’ organizations, academics, retired military personnel, and media leaders. The movement has also established sub-national chapters with local civil society organizations throughout Colombia’s conflict-affected regions.
DLP is currently prioritizing the revival of the special electoral peace districts—a critical component of the 2016 peace accord that remains in limbo—by collecting one million signatures, strengthening the legitimacy of the transitional justice court (the JEP), and encouraging creative measures to break the deadlock with the ELN.
On July 19, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Latin America Working Group, the Colombian Human Rights Committee, the Center for Justice & International Law, and the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a public conversation with three prominent DLP leaders on their vision for this unique civil society platform. Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #ColombiaPeaceForum and #DefendamosLaPaz.
Lisa Haugaard, opening remarks
Executive Director, Latin America Working Group
Juan Fernando Cristo
Former Senator, Ambassador, and Minister of the Interior, Colombia
Columnist, Professor, and Editor of La Línea del Medio
Luis Gilberto Murillo
Former Governor of Chocó & Minister of the Environment
Steve Hege, moderator
Senior Expert, Colombia, U.S. Institute of Peace