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Peacekeeping in Colombia

The end of the bloody Civil War in Colombia is close. Hilfswerk Austria International helps the Colombian population to prepare themselves for the time after the war. We are mediating between completely different population groups in the South of the country and we urge respectful coexistence.

Friedenssicherung_Kolumbien_Englisch

 After the failed negociations concerning the peace contract, still all efforts point to peacekeeping. The local population hopes for peace. 

"The population in our project region of Guaviare suffers enormously under the current conflict in which the rebel group FARC, the police, the Colombian forces and the drug mafia are involved. The extent of everyday violence is unspeakable. The area is completely mined, drug cartels as well as the FARC try to recruit the young people. On top of that, population groups that could not be more different must try to peacefully live side by side", explains Hilfswerk Austria International project manager Fredy Rivera.

The indigenous people  suffer from the deforestation of the rainforests, the destruction of their food sources. They have a great knowledge of nature and food supply, but their area is constantly being scaled down. The indigenous people are pushed back, they must live on smallest ground. Hunger and disease are the consequences. On the other hand, there are many farmers who are hoping to work in the sparsely populated south of Guaviare. However, they are surrendered with the "secrets" of nature - they are not accustomed to hunting and farming in this area.

Hoping for peace

We mediate between the different population groups in the province of Guaviare, so that the conflict wont prevail in the population after the official end. We teach the Indigenous people and the peasants a coexistence. The World Bank and the European Union  are also addressing the need for a long-term critical phase, which must be taken into account when planning the post-conflict period.

 

But how exactly can peace be ensureed in a conflict-laden area like the South of Colombia? The answer is clear for Rivera: Intercultural understanding is the key to securing peace in the long term. Therefore, Hilfswerk Austria International launched pilot projects. We held several workshops in the middle of the rainforest - major subjects were the ones that affect the Indigenous population as well as the peasants in the region alike - above all food security and environmental protection. In the fields of hunting, cultivation and food production, the Indigenous people of Colombia have particularly valuable knowledge and shared it with the farmers during these workshops. When it comes to the cultivation of monocultures, to which the Indigenous are incresingly forced, the farmers are the experts. However, this intercultural understanding does not happen overnight. At the questions of dipute at the workshops Rivera laughed: "Yes, there are always many disputes. But that just teaches us to understand each other better!"

 

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