Colombia is a country afflicted by more than 40 years of internal armed conflict. Diakonia and partners work together to guarantee the enforcement of human rights, gender equality and democratic participation towards a negotiated solution to the conflict.
Diakonia's focus in Colombia
Diakonia has identified human rights defenders, victims of the armed conflict, women and ethnic groups as the most vulnerable, giving special attention to the situation of violence against women.
Diakonia works directly with communities through grass roots organizations on a local level, with NGOs on a national level to strengthen legal processes, demands for rights and peace building, and with national networks to carry out advocacy on public policies on a national and international level.
Vast economical and social differences
Colombia is characterized by vast economical and social differences between its inhabitants. The country has undergone a large political and social change in the last few decades, changing from a typical agricultural society to a more urban and industrialized society.
Mining industry a fast growing sector
The fastest growing economic sector is the mining industry, threatening collective land of indigenous and afro Colombian people.
Colombia is also the producer of about 80 per cent of the world’s cocaine and it is estimated that drug cartels now own at least a third of the cultivable land.
Both the internal armed conflict and the production of cocaine have led to a society plagued by violence and several million people suffering from internal displacement.
Strong civil society
Despite its violent history, Colombia has a strong civil society at national level and several peace and human rights initiatives at local level. The government elected in 2010 has presented legislative proposals aimed at attacking the structural causes of the armed conflict, such as land distribution and the rights of victims of the armed conflict.
"Without my own piece of land there is no food, and without food there is no life" says the farmer Misael Payares in Colombia. He is working together with other farmers to get back his land and the possibility to support himself. The Diakonia partner Programa de Desarollo y Paz (PDP) helps with capacity building and advocacy.