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Project September 10, 2018

The Role of Faith in Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

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The community church in Samurindo, Colombia. Religious actors have played complex and diverse roles in over 50 years of armed conflict. Churches have made a decisive difference in the implementation of the 2016 peace accords between the FARC guerrilla group and the Colombian government unfolds. Image by Julia Friedmann. Colombia, 2018.
The community church in Samurindo, Colombia. Religious actors have played complex and diverse roles in over 50 years of armed conflict. Churches have made a decisive difference in the implementation of the 2016 peace accords between the FARC guerrilla group and the Colombian government unfolds. Image by Julia Friedmann. Colombia, 2018.

The historic 2016 accords signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been heralded as a watershed step towards peace. Nevertheless, the implementation of the accords has been a complex and contentious process.

In a story that has gained far less international media attention, religious actors such as the Society of Jesus have continued their decades-long peace and reconciliation work to support the accords. Through initiatives to provide for those displaced by the conflict, educate ex-combatants of the FARC on their constitutional rights, and work towards communal reconciliation, Jesuits across Colombia have played a critical role in supporting the peace accords. Georgetown University Student Fellow Julia Friedmann reports on the status of the accords in Colombia, the progress made by religious actors, and the work that still must be done.