University researcher joins Colombia Truth Commission

A University of Brighton researcher has been invited onto the Truth Commission on Colombia’s civil war which reportedly has left more than 220,000 people dead and has internally displaced over seven million.

A peace deal was signed in 2016 between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Dr Glory Rigueros Saavedra will be part of the commission helping to promote recognition of the victims and attribute responsibility for those directly or indirectly implicated in the conflict.

Dr Rigueros said: “New research claims more than 10,000 innocent civilians were executed by government troops between 2002 and 2010, during ultra-right president Alvaro Uribe’s government – three times the number tallied by human rights groups.

“Additionally, more than six million Colombians are exiled, many due to the 60-year conflict. Human rights and land restitution defenders are still being assassinated at more than ten a month.”

Dr Rigueros, Visiting Researcher and Lecturer in Development Studies in the university’s Brighton Business School, has been invited by the International Centre for Transitional Justice, the International Organisation for Migration, the Truth Commission for Conviviality and Non-Repetition and the Commission of Colombian Women Abroad to contribute to the “Dialogue towards the Implementation of extraterritorial focus of the Truth Commission for Conviviality and Non-Repetition”.

The Commission will be held at the Conciliation Resources Peacebuilding in London on Monday (21 May).

Dr Rigueros (centre) working with indigenous communities

Dr Rigueros said the commission is part of the ongoing implementation of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC and is designed to promote dialogue, identify expectations and proposals and forge alliances in order to contribute to finding the truth and complexity of the conflict in Colombia. It will also “promote conviviality throughout the territories”.

Dr Rigueros, an agroecologist and sustainable development lecturer, has worked on human rights, and was a panellist at the University College London Institute of the Americas Panel discussion: Colombia on the Brink, Local and Global Perspectives on Conflict and Peace (2016). She has written about the progressive alternatives for a Humane Colombia (Colombia Humana political movement developed by the economist and ex-senator Gustavo Petro Urrego – front-running presidential candidate for the Colombian elections on 27 May this year.

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