Foyle MP on Colombia peace mission

Mark Durkan in Putamayo. He said:

Mark Durkan in Putamayo. He said: "Varied journey in Putamayo today (by truck, canoe etc. Had challenges but nothing compared to the burdens and struggle of those we met."

Londonderry MP Mark Durkan was in Colombia this week to share his experiences of conflict resolution in Northern Ireland and to provide support for the peace process there.

The visit is part of the United Kingdom (UK) trade union movement’s Justice for Colombia (JFC) campaign for human rights, trade union rights and for peace with social justice in the country.

The MP recently asked the Government to address the arrest and detention of Colombian trade unionist, Huber Ballesteros, on charges of rebellion and financing terrorism, including the channelling of Justice for Colombia funds to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombi (FARC).
The 50-year-old conflict in Colombia - the longest-running in Latin America - has killed an estimated 220,000 people since it began in the 1960s.
Formal talks between the Colombian government and left-wing rebels from FARC aim to end it.
However, despite several agreements already reached on a peace agenda, huge obstacles still remain.
Mr Durkan, a former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, said: “I am delighted to share any insights or experiences I have had that could in any way help efforts to achieve peace in Colombia.
“JFC are working closely with ‘Colombians for Peace’, an organisation of high-profile figures who have been working to bring all sides to the conflict to the table and to advance a peace process there.
“In particular, Colombians for Peace believe that an engagement with politicians from the North could help enormously – and that that sharing of experiences could prove invaluable.”

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