The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) announces its upcoming delegation to Colombia to be held from August 3 – 10, 2019. This delegation continues the Guild’s on-going solidarity work in Colombia and Latin America, particularly given Colombia’s geopolitical importance, the rise of the far right in the region and the increasing political and military alliance with the U.S.
This timely delegation comes on the heels of many important landmarks – most importantly, the signing of a final peace agreement on November 30, 2016, between the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) guerrilla and the Colombian government. This historic treaty, which was approved by Congress, and the possibility for a peaceful transition and reconstruction of Colombian society is now being threatened by President Ivan Duque. Despite the creation of the JEP (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz), the newly-created legal entity with jurisdiction to administer the implementation of the peace accords, compliance with the accords remains negligent at best.
Notwithstanding the Peace Accords and the ongoing implementation of disarmament and normalization, there are ongoing concerns 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 rural communities, human rights defenders, indigenous and afro-Colombian communities.
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 firsthand 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 Valle del Cauca. The Valle del Cauca is known as one of the areas most impacted by armed conflict and is home to a vast number of afro-Colombian and indigenous communities.
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 Procesos de Comunidades Negras, two human rights organizations based in Colombia.
1. To evaluate and monitor the implementation of the Peace Accords in Colombia between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrilla, including an analysis of the normalization, disarmament and the role of the U.S. in a post-conflict Colombia;
2. Learn about the human rights issues facing rural, afro-Colombian, and indigenous communities due to the lack of judicial guarantees, ongoing armed conflict, targeting by paramilitary forces, mining and forms of extractivist industry;
3. Learn about the human rights issues facing, labor unions, and human rights defenders;
4. Make visible the ongoing human rights violations and lack of implementation of the historic Peace Accords.
Upon acceptance in the delegation, a detailed travel itinerary will be provided due to security concerns, but a general we will split our time between Bogotá and Valle de Cauca.
DELEGATION COST: Approximately $1,100 (costs may vary based on confirmed number of participants and shifting in-country costs). 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, but the National Lawyers Guild does not finance delegations for its participants and participants are strongly encouraged to use crowdfunding and seek other resources to cover costs of their trip. In the past, law students have been able to receive funding via law schools for summer projects. Participants will arrange and pay for their own travel to and from
FLIGHTS: Delegates will arrange their own flights to arrive in Bogotá by Saturday, August 3, 2019, and depart from Bogotá on Saturday, August 10, 2019.
*Cost of lodging on the last night in Bogota is not covered, as delegates may choose to stay longer in Cali, return to Bogota, or generally go elsewhere in Colombia after the conclusion of the delegation.
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 or 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, 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.