Colombia has been ravaged by over fifty years of armed conflict involving the security forces

After a decades-long armed conflict, Colombia has the world’s second-highest number of Child-victim-of-violence people forced to flee their homes.
CAFOD partners provide practical support and help people who have lost their homes to speak up for their rights.

Peace negotiations between the Colombian Government and the formerly largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have been taking place since October 2012. A bilateral ceasefire was announced on 23 June 2016 and in August a final agreement on the peace talks was announced, which was officially signed on 24 November 2016.
In February 2017, formal peace talks started between the guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian Government, who reached a temporary bi-lateral ceasefire agreement ahead of Pope Francis’ visit in September 2017.

The Catholic Church plays a key role in Colombia as an advocate for peace and human rights and in the resettlement of uprooted communities. CAFOD’s programme focuses on peace-building, protection of human rights defenders and communities, sustainable livelihoods, work on business and human rights, and gender based violence.

 

Bishop welcomes CAFOD country programme managers

Bishop Terry with Kayode and Conor

Bishop Drainey with Conor and Kayode

“Bishop Drainey met with two CAFOD country Programme Managers recently, Conor Molloy works in Ethiopia and Kayode Akintola works in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The meeting was an opportunity to share CAFOD’s work in each country with our Bishop.

Conor, who works on a tripartite agreement between CAFOD, SCIAF and Trocaire (CST), gave a brief recent history of Ethiopia. Following a state of emergency until 2016 and huge protests following the drought brought about by the EI Nino phenomenon which was the worst drought in living memory.

A second EI Nino, starting in the Indian Ocean affected more lowland areas and caused more than 2 million people to be displaced between September 2017 and April 2018. At the same time there has been positive engagement taking place between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the first delegation of Eritrean’s was hosted this month which will hopefully herald a renewed peace between the two nations. CAFOD’s work includes supporting Women’s Empowerment and Resilient Communities Programmes in the country.

Kayode told the Bishop that Sierra Leone was the 6th poorest country on the United Nations index and that the Ebola crisis had brought the country to its knees. Faith leaders had played a key role during the outbreak as they were trusted by their local communities, who explained the need for ‘safe burials’ of victims to reduce the risk of contamination. Following the Ebola outbreak, a mudslide around the capital city, Freetown, has claimed more than 600,000 lives. There has been a new social government elected which is still in its first 100 days in government. At the end of the meeting, Conor and Kayode extended thanks to CAFOD volunteers and supporters in Middlesbrough on behalf of their respective communities.

Bishop Drainey thanked Conor and Kayode for their visit and said there is need to raise awareness and widen people’s perspectives about the realities of life in other countries”.

 

 

Join us on our walk

Walk in solidarity 2Pope Francis launched the global Share the Journey campaign to highlight the plight of the growing numbers of refugees, migrants and displaced peoples around the world last year. He says “Christ asks us to welcome our brothers and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open”.
Join us for our family friendly Share the Journey walk in solidarity with refugees, migrants and displaced people on Sunday 1st July from St Therese of Lisieux Church, Blair Avenue, Ingleby Barwick to Preston Park after 11am Mass. Bring a picnic to enjoy afterwards. All are welcome.

If you are unable to join us for the walk, please click Here to sign our online petition

Or you can support us with prayer:

 ‘God our refuge, you share the journey

With migrants and refugees, lightening their footsteps with hope.

For you Lord, are close to the broken-hearted

Pour out your Spirit upon world leaders.

May they see the tragedy of our human family

And be moved to respond with wisdom, compassion and courage.

 Open our hearts and eyes to the God-given dignity of all your people.

Move us to welcome our neighbours and so bear witness to your love.

 Through Christ our Lord,

Amen.’