Bogotá, Colombia, October 29, 2015
Juan Manuel Santos
President of Colombia
Humberto de la Calle Lombana
Lead Colombian Government Negotiator
High Commissioner for Peace
Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri
Luciano Marín Arango
Lead FARC-EP Negotiator
Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista
Re: DiPaz offers to monitor the bilateral ceasefire
“For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us (…) so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two… So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near… (Ephesians 2:14-18, NRSV)
The churches and church-based organizations that are part of the Interchurch Dialog for Peace – DiPaz share our joy over the recent announcement of probable dates for a bilateral ceasefire made by the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP guerrilla.
As we have expressed at other times a bilateral ceasefire is the most directly palpable step toward peace and Colombians who live in areas of armed confrontation that peace is indeed possible.
The fact, which we have verified from 20 September to 20 October, that the FARC-EP guerrilla have completely abided by their unilateral ceasefire as well as the reduction of military operations by the Colombian military, show that the conditions are ripe for this bilateral ceasefire that we have been calling for, along with many other organization in Colombia, since the beginning of the peace talks.
We have learned a lot during these past four months of monitoring the FARC-EP’s unilateral ceasefire and the de-escalation measures of the Colombian military. With the support of our international dialog partners, we want to offer, to both parties of this ceasefire, our willingness – along with other churches and organizations – to participate in the monitoring of the bilateral ceasefire to begin on the date that the parties choose.
We continue to call on the Colombian Government and the ELN guerrilla to move forward in their talks despite the grave and unfortunate recent events in Güicán, Boyacá where 12 Colombian soldiers were killed in an ELN guerrilla attack. We also call on both sides to quickly facilitate the freeing of the two soldiers that were taken by the guerrillas. The lives of civilians, soldiers and guerrillas are all sacred and their blood cries out to heaven for an agreement between the two sides to avoid further killing.
In the meantime we will continue to monitor the FARC’s unilateral ceasefire and the government’s de-escalation measures, to hold ecumenical vigils for peace, with pastoral visits to conflict areas and continue educating about the agreements that have been reached so far. This is our contribution to this dream that comes from God, that one-day justice and peace shall kiss, here in our dear Colombia.
Interchurch Dialog for Peace in Colombia – DiPaz