NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD DELEGATION TO COLOMBIA
December 9 – 16, 2016
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) announces its upcoming delegation to Colombia to be held from December 9-16, 2016. This timely delegation comes on the heels of many important landmarks, including the recent people’s plebiscite on the Peace Accords between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) guerrilla on October 2, 2016, that resulted in a vote against adopting the accords as agreed upon by both sides. The impact of the “no” vote, as it is referred to, remains an ongoing concern for human rights defenders, members of rural, indigenous, afro-Colombian and displaced communities and victims of the conflict in general, in particular retaliatory or repressive tactics taken against those who advocated for, or voted in favor of, ratification of the accords. The geopolitical importance of Colombia within Latin America remains significant given the political alliance with the U.S. and the presence of U.S. military bases in the country.
In light of the current political context, the delegation will have several objectives aimed at providing delegates with a solid general understanding of the human rights, socio-economic, cultural, environmental and political issues facing Colombia at this critical juncture, as well as first-hand knowledge through meetings with directly impacted communities. We will meet with representatives of key human rights organizations, members of progressive lawyers’ associations, community-based organizations, academic experts, and journalists and/or politicians. Delegates are expected to have an understanding of Colombia’s socio-political history as well as contemporary events and will be expected to contribute to post-delegation writing and work.
In addition to meetings in the capital of Bogotá, the delegation will travel to the internal department of La Guajira along the Atlantic coast. La Guajira is known as one of the areas most impacted by the armed conflict (including a history of right-wing paramilitary presence), poverty, drought and the presence of transnational mining companies. It is also home to the largest population of indigenous peoples in Colombia, including the Wayuu, Wiwa, Arhuaco, and Senu, whom we will meet with.
SPONSORS: The delegation is sponsored by the International Committee and the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Committee of the National Lawyers Guild. It is hosted primarily by Lazos de Dignidad and Marcha Patriótica, two human rights organizations based in Colombia.
- To better ascertain the evolving status of peace process dialogues in Colombia between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrilla, including an analysis of the ramifications of the “no” vote and the role of the U.S. in a post-conflict Colombia;
- To learn about the implications and impact of U.S. foreign policy in Colombia, particularly regarding the Colombia-U.S. free-trade agreement and government-sponsored funding and militarization via Plan Colombia;
- Learn about the human rights issues facing indigenous communities due to the armed conflict, mining and other forms of extractivism;
- Learn about the human rights issues facing rural campesinos, afro-Colombian communities, labor unions, and human rights defenders.
DELEGATION COST: $1,100. Costs include lodging, 2 – 3 meals a day, in-country transportation, trip organization, guiding, and translation. Participants will be two or more to a room in basic accommodations and may have shared bathroom facilities. Participants should be able to transport their own luggage through various transfers from taxi, plane, bus, and some walking. Fee reductions for those with a demonstrated need may be available depending on finalized costs and size of the group. Participants will arrange and pay for their own travel to and from Colombia.
Upon acceptance in the delegation, a detailed travel itinerary will be provided.
FLIGHTS: Delegates will arrange to arrive in Bogotá on Friday, December 9, 2016, and depart from Bogotá on Friday, December 16, 2016, or to remain an extra day and depart on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
TYPE OF PARTICIPANT: This delegation is open to lawyers, legal educators, legal workers, law students, and advocates who are concerned about human rights, the rule of law, and the issues outlined above. Spanish is not a requirement; however it is helpful to have some basic knowledge. Participants will be expected to contribute to a delegation report as well as write articles about the delegation and its findings, as well as other post-delegation work as defined by the group and in-country partners. This trip will include extensive in-country travel by public and private buses, plane, and taxis as well as significant amounts of walking. Participants must be able to handle unexpected changes and potentially rustic conditions. The anticipated group size is 10-15.
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Natali Segovia, firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, email@example.com. Please submit your applications ASAP to Natali Segovia, chair of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* An initial deposit of $250 will be due upon acceptance to the delegation. The remaining balance must be paid in full prior to departure.