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Christian Aid welcomes ceasefire between the Colombian government and the ELN

1 October 2017 - Christian Aid has welcomed the ceasefire between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) insurgent group, which begins today, Sunday 1 October and will last until 9 January 2018.

Speaking from Bogota, Thomas Mortensen, Christian Aid’s Country Manager for Colombia, said: 'We very much welcome the bilateral and temporary ceasefire with the ELN. This brings hope that Colombia will finally see peace after an internal armed conflict that has lasted more than 50 years after the other main insurgent group, the FARC, transformed itself into a political party only a few weeks ago. 

'The ceasefire is initially temporary, but Christian Aid and our partners will encourage the parties to respect the ceasefire and extend it to make it permanent. It is our hope that the government of Colombia will reach a peace agreement with the ELN to bring a final end to the armed conflict in Colombia.

'We trust that the ELN will realise that the use of violence in pursuit of political goals is illegitimate and that the Colombian government will comply with its promises to take effective steps to protect human rights defenders who are suffering from an increase in attacks and killings. We also encourage the government to dismantle the paramilitary groups and their support structures as promised. Dismantling these groups is necessary to build real peace in Colombia.

'While we are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for reaching a peace agreement with the ELN, it is worrying that there is so little enthusiasm about this in Colombia considering that it will most likely take years to reach a final peace agreement. The urban middle class is especially indifferent because the armed conflict doesn’t affect them directly. But for the many civilians living in remote areas with the presence of the ELN, a peace agreement would mean not being at risk to aggressions by the ELN or combats involving the ELN, which often force people from their homes.'

Christian Aid and its partners have been helping to build peace in Colombia since the peace process began in 2012 and working with displaced communities for twenty years.

ENDS

 

For more information please contact:

Meabh Smith , Head of Communications, 00353 (0) 87 2068483 

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

  3. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter @christianaidirl

  4. For more information about the work of Christian Aid Ireland visit www.christianaid.ie


 

 
 

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