By CCONG, Forus member in Colombia

The Confederación Colombiana de ONG (CCONG) stands in solidarity with the peaceful citizen expression that, within the framework of the National Strike, has participated massively in the mobilizations and has manifested their fundamental right to protest. The voices and proposals of civil society organizations are an urgent call for economic, political and social measures ton contribute to the recovery from the serious consequences left by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Likewise, the CCONG expresses its resounding rejection of all forms of police and criminal violence that have left a sad toll of people killed, injured, arbitrarily detained and disappeared after a strong armed response that confused and terrorized the populations that have faced unfortunate events.

The CCONG requires from the national government:

1. The guarantee of the right to life and the right to protest: we reject the use of public force that affects young people and particularly women. International protocols on the non-use of firearms against the civilian population during protests are mandatory.

2. The guarantee of the right to health: agility and efficiency of the vaccination plan and access to full doses of vaccines for all people, in rural and urban areas to face the COVID-19 and guarantee life and health.

3. The strengthening of the constitutional model of decentralization: all support for the governors and mayors that recognize the right to life and to protest; that promote dialogue as the only way to find alternatives in the face of poverty and inequality; that they have development plans based on the guarantee of rights; that promote citizen and democratic participation; and whose decisions have been affected by the intervention of the administrative, financial and political decisions of the central level, which again seeks to concentrate the functions.

4. The review of local development plans: to orient policies to the realities of populations after a year of pandemic. It is urgent to take care of impoverished populations, who are unemployed, who have been affected for years and whose crisis was exacerbated by the pandemic. We demand special attention to women, children, young people and the elderly.

5. The call to advance decentralized dialogues led by local authorities: listen to citizens, social organizations and accompany the participatory construction of their proposals until they are processed at the central level.

Given what happened, the CCONG calls on international solidarity to follow up on the situation faced by thousands of young people and especially women, who have been affected by the brutal repression of the armed forces.

Our solidarity is with those who defend human rights in the context of legitimate protest. Civil society organizations remain attentive to social and political dialogue that contributed to constructive political participation.

Bogotá, D.C., May 04, 2021

Photo credits: Sebastian Barros