WOLA s Colombia Peace Conference Protecting Peace

We’ve done this every year since 2012: organize a day-long, open-to-the-public event about Colombia. Mostly Colombia-based people, chosen because they’re good explainers, share their on-the-ground knowledge of security challenges, peace efforts, drug policy, and human rights.

The next edition is tomorrow, at the National Press Club in downtown Washington. The event announcement is here. Come join us.

We will also have a livestream at that site, though you’ll have to be familiar with both English and Spanish to follow it without an interpreter feed. If I can, I’ll embed that here too.

Some of the speakers on the agenda are can’t miss.

  • Ariel Ávila of Bogotá’s Peace and Reconciliation Foundation is on TV constantly in Colombia because he’s a clear, analytical, and energetically opinionated explainer of the conflict, organized crime, corruption, and similar issues. Don’t miss the Foundation’s late-August annual report on the conflict (in Spanish, English summary).
  • Christoph Harnisch, the longtime head of the International Commission of the Red Cross office in Bogotá, is also a brilliant explainer of what is happening right now in Colombia. The ICRC’s alarming analysis finds “five conflicts” coinciding in this “post-accord” moment.
  • Xiomara Balanta is the vice president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the transitional justice system set up by the 2016 peace accord.
  • Luis Eduardo “Lucho” Celis of REDPRODEPAZ knows more than nearly anybody about the ELN, and what it would take to make a peace process with them function.
  • Socorro Ramírez, who unfortunately will have to appear via Skype, has been studying the conflict for decades and I’ve learned a lot from her.
  • Jacqueline Castillo Peña lost a brother to the Colombian Army’s “false positive” killings a decade ago, and now heads a victims’ group, the Mothers of False Positives.
  • Father Sterlin Londoño is a longtime social leader from central Chocó department and member of the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council.
  • Marco Romero, a longtime colleague, heads CODHES, a human rights group that pioneered work on internal displacement in the 1990s and has grown in recent years.
  • I first knew Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno when she was Human Rights Watch’s Colombia person and, later, author of the excellent book There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia. Now, she’s the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.