Building peace in Colombia

By Rotary International

Ana Laura Zavala Guillen leads a discussion at the University of Sheffield.

By Ana Laura Zavala Guillen, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford

Over the last three years, as a doctoral researcher, I have been studying the loss of territory by San Basilio del Palenque, a town located in the Colombian Caribbean, due to the armed conflict, business developments, state demarcations and the war on drugs. San Basilio is considered the last Colombian Palenque, communities built by runaway slaves during the 17th century as shelters.

Land grabs
As a human rights lawyer, my main aim for my research is to serve as evidence that the community can use in their claims against land grabs. On 15 June this year, I arrived in the town of San Basilio del Palenque, just in time for the celebrations that commemorate the Patron Saint of the community: St Basilio. I feared the high temperature and celebration preparations would prevent people from joining the seminar on The Role of the Archives in times of Peacebuilding.

But participation actually beat my expectation, with 40 attendees, including students, academics, activists, campesinos, community leaders and local representatives. They exchanged ideas about the importance of the archives to the current community …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

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