AFT Resolution

SUPPORTING PEACE IN COLOMBIA

WHEREAS, on Aug. 24, 2016, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to a historic and comprehensive peace accord, bringing an end to Colombia’s 50-year civil war, and on Oct. 2, Colombian citizens will vote on the peace deal in a national plebiscite; and

WHEREAS, the reparations program created by the Colombian government in 2011 has registered 7.7 million victims of forced displacement, murder, torture, sexual violence, forced disappearance and kidnapping, among other grave violations of human rights. This indicates that about 15 percent of the population has suffered directly from the internal armed conflict, including:

  • 6 million internally displaced people, the second-highest number of IDPs in the world, exceeded only by Syria;
  • 100,000 victims of forced disappearance, equal to the total number reported in the recent military dictatorships of Argentina, Brazil and Chile; and
  • 220,000 victims of murder, out of which 80 percent were civilians, including one attorney general, one minister of justice, three presidential candidates, 16 congressmen, 175 city mayors, 200 judges and 1,042 educators; and
  • Over 2,500 trade unionists killed in the last 20 years, making Colombia the most dangerous country in the world in which to exercise labor rights; and

WHEREAS, in the last two decades, educators have been disproportionately affected by the violence in Colombia, suffering thousands of murders, death threats, forced displacements, disappearances, arbitrary detentions and instances of torture; and

WHEREAS, the peace agreement is embraced by many Colombians as an opportunity for a nationwide social and economic transformation that goes beyond the ending of the guerrilla war; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers stands with the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE) in embracing the opportunity for peace, justice and reconciliation that this agreement represents:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will maintain and strengthen its long-standing solidarity with the Colombian Federation of Education Workers, in recognition of FECODE’s leadership position in the peace consolidation process, where its educators are positioned to teach tolerance and civic responsibility in their classrooms and lead political reconciliation in their communities; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, working closely with Education International, will assist FECODE in its immediate mobilization efforts to secure the “Sí” vote in the national plebiscite, as well as in its longer-term efforts to create a culture that embraces the concept of schools as “territories for peace”; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will inform the Obama administration and Congress of its support for legislation providing U.S. foreign assistance to Colombia in implementing the peace agreement.

(2016)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.