The CCJ and CCAJAR reject the defamation campaign against the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission

The Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) and the Lawyers’ Collective José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR) repudiate the protest actions taken against the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission. For several years the Justice and Peace Commission has accompanied the Afro-descendent communities in Curvaradó (Chocó) that were displaced by paramilitaries. After the court ordered the restitution of their lands, business interests that refuse to do so have organized a defamation campaign against the Justice and Peace Commission

We have obtained information that, since last night, six buses – one from the port of Turbo and the other five from the municipality of Chigorodó (Antioquia) – have left the Bajo Atrato region headed for Bogotá, with the purpose of carrying out protests against the Justice and Peace Commission.

This mobilization was preceded by a call from José Obdulio Gaviria on January 9, on his television program on Cable News, declaring himself opposed to the Justice and Peace Commission. The protest is also preceded by the plan hatched on the same subject by Fernando Londoño and Rito Alejo del Rio, which became known in October 2008. It is also part of an unjust and unfounded defamation campaign that attempts to link the human rights organization to crimes and guerrilla networks.

Without ignoring the right that Colombians have to demonstrate freely and peacefully, we deplore that this rally is a tool of those who have promoted forced displacement and carried out grave human rights violations, denounced by the Justice and Peace Commission.
The CCJ and the CCAJAR call on competent authorities to guarantee the security of the members and headquarters of the Justice and Peace Commission.

The work of the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission:
Justice and Peace is a non-governmental human rights organization, benefiting from preventive measures granted by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. It bases its mission on human dignity, the International Declaration of Human Rights, and the pastoral function of the different churches in the world. For more than 20 years, it has comprehensively accompanied the community processes of Afro-descendant, Mestizo, and Indigenous communities and organizations that affirm their right to land and territory. In addition, it has supported the concrete experiences of the search for truth, justice, and comprehensive reparation and negotiated political solutions to the internal armed conflict.

March 2, 2011.