women and peace



2003: “Because a home and a country without war and without violence is possible”

On 25 November (2003) three thousand women from all over Colombia will walk in an act of solidarity and sisterhood with the women of Putumayo,  their families and communities... The people of Putumayo in southern Colombia have suffered and have been witness to the fact that aerial spraying (of glyphosate) has exacerbated the spiral of war and violates human rights. Read their statement:

Movement of women against war
Campaign for demilitarization and the recovery of civil life
Press Release No.

l Three thousand women from all over the country will walk, heading South, in an act of solidarity and sisterhood with the women of Putumayo, with their families and their communities, highlighting the misery to which they have been subjected as a result of the aerial spraying of glyphosate.

Under the campaign slogan “For demilitarization and recovery of civil life,” a mobilization to Putumayo will take place on 25 November.  Women will come from Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Quibdo, Risaralda, Barrancabermeja, Bogota, Tolima, Huila, Valle, Antioquia, Narino and Cauca to say NO TO AERIAL SPRAYING.

The children, men and women of Putumayo, a department in the south of Colombia, have suffered and have been witness to the fact that aerial spraying has exacerbated the spiral of war and violates human rights.  Aerial spraying of glyphosate causes:  hunger because of the contamination of water sources, destruction of crops raised for food, and the death of domestic animals because the soil is totally eroded.  Glyphosate produces harmful health effects and generates allergies and respiratory problems, but it also obliges the families to move elsewhere, thereby destroying their life’s work, hopes, family and community ties.

We agree with the eradication of illegal crops but not with the aerial spraying and for this reason, we propose an anti-narcotic policy that will give consideration to the women, for they are the ones who have most participated in offering alternative proposals -- that the policy should differentiate between producers of coca and the drug traffickers and distributors and, finally, to implement social, not military, policies.

Friends, we invite you to accompany us in this effort to continue as builders of history, a history woven and interwoven of multiple truths, faces, everyday events, freedom, hope, words, desires, justice, autonomy and life.

Contact for reports, information: comunicaciones@rutapacifica.org.co
Translated from Spanish by Trisha Novak, USA


For a Negotiated Solution to the Armed Conflict 3rd of March 2002

Just as we women saw an unsuccessful peace process between the government and the FARC because it was an exclusionary model not based in grass roots, so also we view with terror a spectacle of war that is nothing other than a patriarchal concept, both retrogressive and obtuse, which has elevated war to the role of midwife of history and humanity, and which, unfortunately, at present is defining the destiny of this country and of the world.

We know, by the wisdom gleaned from centuries of grief, exclusion and resistance, that arrogance is a poor counselor for any decision, that one cannot harden his or her speech or harden his or her heart when the subject is the life and dignity of a people.

For this reason, today we raise our voices for life, for peace and for social justice in an effort to lift them above the noise of the trumpets and drums of war. more


New York, February 25, 2002

On February 21, 2002, Colombia's 38-year conflict exploded into full-fledged war when President Pastrana unilaterally broke off peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, is extremely concerned about the escalation of violence and the threat of grave human rights abuses against women and families.


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With strong backing from the Bush Administration, the Colombian military has bombed the 16,000- square-mile Demilitarized Zone in southern Colombia, which is home to more than 100,000 people. Until last week, the Zone, where neither the army nor paramilitaries were allowed to operate, was the most peaceful part of Colombia. Since the launch of the military offensive, several civilians have already been killed. As the army enters the Zone, so too, will the right-wing paramilitaries. Human rights workers warn of a bloodbath as paramilitaries seek retribution against communities that have cooperated with the FARC, which has ruled the Zone since 1998.

Those who will be hardest hit by the government's offensive are the most marginalized Colombians ­ poor, indigenous and Afro-Colombian women and their families. Already, more than 25% of Colombians have been displaced by fighting between the FARC and the Colombian government (the latter aided by paramilitaries that are responsible for 75% of the country's human rights violations, including 3,500 killings each year). All warring parties stand accused of grave human rights abuses, including assassinations, torture and kidnapping of civilians. Crimes against women include forced servitude, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced sterilization and forced pregnancy. Human rights violations such as these are sure to proliferate in the total absence of negotiations.

The current bombings are being conducted with US-made Blackhawk helicopters and other weapons supplied through Plan Colombia, the $1.3 billion US aid package that makes Colombia the third-largest recipient of US military aid worldwide. President Pastrana's decision to derail the peace process has coincided with a new willingness from the Bush Administration to expand Plan Colombia from anti-narcotics operations to direct support for his counter-insurgency war against the FARC. Under the guise of the "war on terrorism", Bush has requested an additional $500 million in military aid for Colombia. The budget has more to do with protecting US oil interests than fighting terrorism. Its allocations include $98 million to secure military access to the 480-mile oil pipeline in northeast Colombia, belonging to the US-based Occidental Petroleum. The FARC succeeded in shutting down the pipeline for most of 2001.

MADRE strongly condemns the Bush Administration's escalation of US involvement in Colombia¹s war. Providing one side with massive amounts of weapons and funding will only fuel the violence and strengthen the most reactionary forces in Colombia, who favor ending the conflict through military force rather than negotiations.

MADRE believes that peace negotiations offer the only viable solution to Colombia's conflict. MADRE therefore urges all parties to return to the negotiating table in search of a political settlement. We remind the Colombian government of United Nations Resolution 1325, to which it is a signatory, urging that women be represented on the team of peace negotiators.

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