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Saturday, April 02, 2005

San Jose Community Displaced

Displacement Begun Following Police Presence

The Peace Community San José de Apartadó announces today on the 1st of April the beginning of its displacement from the village of San José. Since March 30, the police come entering the village with psychologists, sociologists, with people filming and claiming there had been an agreement with the community to work jointly with the police. On March 30, at around 2 p.m., they entered and announced that the police would start educational work with the children, conflict resolution and social work; after filming us, they left at 2:40 p.m.

On March 31, at 11 a.m. a motorcycle with two armed men in civil arrived together with the chief of police announcing with megaphone the arrival of the police. Half an hour later a vehicle with 100 men arrived, among them police officers with sweets and presents. They invited the community to work with the police and filmed the village and its population. Various children as well as the members of the Peace Community refused to accept the sweets and presents. Thus, various policemen and the chief angrily threatened that the community would pay dearly for this.

The government's actions are frankly outrageous. The army committed a massacre of eight people, including one of the leaders of the community and its response to this is sending the police to supposedly help us with our problems and do social work, ignoring the four meetings we have had with the Vice-President, where we clearly stated that the community does not want armed forces or police on its territory (the last of these meetings took place in the last week of January, together with Luis Eduardo, who was soon to be assassinated).

Faced with this situation, we do not see any use in continuing the negotiations with the government at this point in time. For two years we have been meeting frequently with delegates discussing solutions and all we have received has been increasing violence and attempts to destroy our process of peace. With a petition we have called for a statement of the government regarding the peace community and whether the government would provide the protection demanded by the Inter-American Court. The only response we have received is the police and their supposed “psycho-social“ work entering our community. The government has taken a decision of war against a community that was born of peace and lives in peace. We will remain quiet towards the institutions of the state now except for our continued communication with the “Defensory of the People“ (Defensoria del Pueblo) and the Attorney General so that they make sure our homes that we have left behind will be respected as the private property that it is.

We are displacing towards the finca La Holandita, property of the Community. We have left our homes locked and have asked the Defensory to check the houses in San José. We have filmed the village and made an inventory of each home, so the public forces cannot construct their lied about how we have left the village. We demand that our homes be respected and we hope that one day we will return. We also hope our houses will not be taken by paramilitaries as happened in so many other places in the country.

We always said we live in the midst of the war. We do not accept this behavior towards us and we stick to our principles of neutrality. We demand that the place where we are and which is private property be respected. We demand the respect of all armed actors for our process, the humanitarian zones and the families that have decided to stay in San José. We do not accept the infamy of allegation that we forced families to leave the village or that the decision was taken by the leadership only. It has been a collective decision and whoever decides otherwise has every right to do so. We continue determinedly our search for respect for the civil population and to refuse cooperation with any armed actor.

We call for national and international solidarity in these moments of destruction. We know that one day, history will judge these acts, these aggression, these injustices, this Crime Against Humanity that has been committed against our community. There will be the day when some other government will respect the peace initiatives that were born in the civil communities that suffer so much from the war. We believe that the crimes against us are a historic error of our country and of humanity and that one day justice will come.

Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó

Abril 1 de 2005



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