Much of the work of CPT Colombia is to accompany threatened communities, organizations and their leadership. But what exactly do we mean by accompaniment?
Communities we accompany:
Organizations we accompany:
By accompaniment we mean both: 1) having a physical presence in the communities and with the organizations we accompany, and 2) advocating on their behalf..
1) Our physical presence in communities/organizations demonstrates to both members and leaders of organizations as well as armed actors that they are not alone; members of an international organization are present to witnesses and report on whatever is happening, and will non-violently intervene when armed actors abuse the rights of civilians. We ask violators to cease and desist from any behaviour that places civilians at risk or abuses their rights, and make it known that we will report all abuses to local authorities, local, national and North American government representatives, the media, and our international support base. We also publish an annual Human Rights Report and occasionally call for Urgent Action on the part of our support base and government representatives. These actions and interventions on the part of the team also intended to deter violence and humans rights abuses on the part armed actors.
2) Advocacy work for the organizations and communities we accompany is based on the understanding that justice must prevail before peace can be attained. It seeks to support our partners’ initiatives in their struggles to end violence and impunity, and to have their rights to life with dignity and territory respected. It also raises the profiles, not only of community/organization leaders, but also of their struggle for justice. Raising their profiles increases the political cost of doing them harm, and thereby diminishes the ability to oppress them with impunity. It also helps brings their experiences of injustice and their demands for justice to the national and international level, thereby increasing their chances of getting a fair trial in judicial and governmental procedures. Advocacy work takes many forms, all of which address the imbalance of power that allows decision makers to disregard the needs and rights of the communities and organizations most affected by oppression and violence.
Advocacy work includes: