12 December 2013
Last month, the rural community of Las Pavas, part of the Association of Peasants of Buenos Aires (ASOCAB) in northern Colombia, was awarded this year’s National Peace Prize for their peaceful struggle for land that was claimed by a palm oil company.
Having supported this community for many years, we are delighted because the prize offers recognition of their plight by the state.
The day before the prize was awarded, the members of ASOCAB were formally recognised as victims of forced displacement in a ceremony held in the offices of the government’s Unit for Integral Assistance and Reparations for Victims in Bogotá.
Previously, the Colombian government denied that the community were ever victims of the conflict.
Inclusion on the official registry of victims strengthens ASOCAB’s legal battle against the company it is disputing ownership of the land.
Misael Payares, a community leader, said God has given the community strength throughout their ordeal.
The decision benefits 464 people belonging to 124 families. It doesn’t, however, imply recognition of ownership of the Las Pavas land.
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