On May 18 and 19 2013 approximately 300 leaders of various Christian churches gathered at the Pontifical Javierian University in the city of Bogotá in an Ecumenical Forum for Peace, to deliberate and reflect on the importance of applying an ethical framework in the context of the current dialogues between the government and the FARC. The Ecumenical Peace Table movement was publicly launched during the Forum.
The Forum received greetings from a number of key figures in the global ecumenical communities, from development agencies, from local government, from Colombian social groups and from leaders of the insurgent movements. These messages can be found at this web page and on the Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz (MEP) Facebook page.
We carried out our deliberations under the common understanding that peace is the fruit of social justice and can only be achieved by overcoming the root causes of economic, social and cultural inequalities, and that this effort must be illuminated by the prophetic tradition found in the Old and New Testaments. The Ecumenical Peace Table is therefore committed to organize a citizen and grassroots process across Colombia which will monitor all the social and political dynamics of the peace, going far beyond the formal peace agreements which be achieved in the dialogues in Havana.
In the coming days this proposal will be presented in various Colombian peace fora, including the Common Social Route to Peace, the Dialogue Tables in Havana, the Peace Commission of our House of Representatives, and the Government High Council for Peace, among others. We will be doing this because we are certain that although this is a proposal which comes from the ecumenical movement it must be achieved together with all the popular movements and social groups that see its value and are committed to working with us to bring it about.
Citizen and popular monitoring will be accompanied by political action and mobilization to declare and defend this social agenda for peace. These actions will stimulate organizing in local areas across the country. To this end a National Vigil for Peace will be convened in October 2013, as well as a series of national gatherings.
This monitoring by citizens and popular groups will be a mechanism for oversight of the social and political accords which are achieved through this mobilization in the whole society. It will identify and challenge in the public arena the anti-ethical and anti-democratic structures and strategies which are rampant in Colombia. It will unmask those leaders who seek to monopolize the ethical discourse in our country.
At the same time the Ecumenical Peace Table (MEP) will advocate for the unity of the ecumenical movement on this issue. Our movement can be a key social and political actor that will make an impact on the peace process by insisting on the ethical requirements for a lasting peace. Our unified action will be an expression of an ecumenism which believes in Jesus Christ and His gospel of peace and which respects all our diverse visions of reality.
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