Join the Colombia Electoral Accompaniment and Observation Mission, May 22-June 1

Join the Colombia Electoral Accompaniment and Observation Mission, May 22-June 1

Colombia’s Comité Permanente de Derechos Humanos (CPDH) has invited the Observatorio por los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos to organize an international delegation to accompany threatened campaigns and social movements for the first round of presidential elections on May 29, 2022. The mission does not endorse any Colombian parties or political campaigns. However, we recognize that the electoral season will likely be marked by a heightened atmosphere of violence against Center Left candidates, supporters, and social movements. We will begin and end the delegation in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, and then disperse throughout the country to fulfill our different missions. CPDH will connect all our teams with local and regional activists who will organize and host our delegation.

If you are interested in joining the delegation as an individual or in organizing one of the monitoring/accompaniment teams, please send an email to James@AFGJ.org

The coming year will be a sharp struggle with the possibility of enormous gains for popular forces across Latin America. Nowhere will the battles be more heightened nor the outcomes more significant than in the national elections planned for Colombia (March, May, and June) and Brazil (October). Both countries are poised for potential victories by Center-Left political formations against the region’s two most far-right administrations, that of Colombian President Iván Duque and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Whether or not the Center-Left wins, both countries see the exponential growth of popular movements that can counter and defeat some of the most harmful right-wing initiatives. In the national strikes of 2019 and 2021, we saw millions of Colombians take to the streets in the largest uprisings since the 1970s. Colombia’s popular movements set an agenda for change and have shown that they will not back down. However, that country’s right-wing is brutal and will pursue all means to drown the people in blood, put them in chains, and smother them with fear.

The Alliance for Global Justice led a delegation of accompaniment and observation to Colombia for the first round of presidential elections in June 2018. We saw numerous irregularities firsthand during the vote. Because a campaign of violence against Center-Left parties and movements preceded the election, we not only observed, we accompanied those threatened, using our status and privilege as international visitors as a shield against assaults.

The election of Iván Duque led to a steady increase in political violence, especially by agents and allies of the State, so much so that the rate of killings of social leaders, members of the political opposition, peace accord signatories, and participants in protests rose to a rate of one victim per day.

The current electoral season is already well underway, and violent incidents against political campaigns have intensified to levels over and above those at the same period in 2018. Center-Left parties are currently leading polls, which will provoke more violence from the Right. As we lead up to primary and congressional elections in March and the first round of presidential voting on May 29, we fear that both opposition parties and social movements will be increasingly targeted. It is precisely for this reason that Colombia’s Permanent Committee for Human Rights (CPDH, Comité Permanente de Derechos Humanos) has invited the People’s Human Rights Observatory and the Americas Coordination for People’s Rights to organize a delegation of accompaniment and observation for May 22 to June 1, 2022. (AFGJ is a founding member of both these international coalitions.)

After an initial orientation in Bogotá, the delegation will divide up into teams, disperse to various parts of Colombia to accompany threatened campaigns and social movements, and observe polling stations on election day. We will return to Bogotá for a final debriefing and begin work to report our findings.

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