Colombia has been ravaged by nearly fifty years of armed conflict involving the army, leftist guerrillas and right wing paramilitary groups.
The lucrative drugs trade, which provides huge profits for paramilitary and guerrilla groups, perpetuates the conflict. But poverty and inequality are what cause the conflict.
Many thousands of Colombians have been killed and over four million people have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. On top of this trauma, most people end up pushed into long term poverty, living in unsafe dwellings in shanty towns on the outskirts of cities. Today Colombia has one of the highest numbers of displaced people in the world, second only to Sudan.
CAFOD in Colombia
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, sustainable livelihoods and work on HIV and AIDS.
Watch this film about spreading the message of peace via music in Colombia.
Our work is concerned with inspiring young people who can't find a way out or who don't think they can build a life for themselves beyond their neighbourhood. There are many theories for peace: redistribute land and improve education and health, but none of these speak of emotion - the fear, the guilt, the anger. Music is a fundamental tool to reach the emotions. We need to learn to deactivate the inner weapon inside us.