Technical Secretariat of the Truth Commission in Europe

The Colombian Truth Commission signed a collaboration agreement with the ICIP to act as Technical Secretariat in Europe from May 2019 until the end of the Commission’s mandate. It was a newly created figure that arose as a result of the innovative work of the Commission to promote the participation of the population living outside the country.

The Technical Secretariat aimed to link the work with the Colombian victims residing in Europe and the social organizations and institutions that supported the work of the Truth Commission in the European countries where these people live.

The victims’ centrality and active participation in this experience made it an act of recognition for them. In turn, it propitiated a process that had a healing character and closed the wounds of the conflict.

In Europe, participation took place at three levels:

  • Nodes or support groups for the Commission: 15 meeting spaces and individual and collective participation in 10 countries: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain (Andalusia, Catalonia, Madrid, the Basque Country and Valencia), France and the South of France, Italy, Norway, UK and Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Internodal working groups about thematic axes: gender, psychosocial support, recognition of victims and relatives of victims of forced disappearance. A group of second and third generations in exile and the ethnic group was also formed.
  • Taking testimonies: 90 people were trained who have taken more than 800 testimonies from victims living in Europe.

Specifically, in its role as Technical Secretariat in Europe, the ICIP had the following functions:

  • Accompany, advise, stimulate and articulate interviewers, nodes and work groups in Europe.
  • Act as a link between the initiatives in Europe and the Commission.
  • Inform the Commission about European participation processes and make proposals to strengthen them.
  • Help the Commission with logistics and methodological organising European activities and events.

The technical secretary’s work had an approximate cost of approximately 500,000 euros (around 2,000,000,000 COP). The ICIP contributed 70% of its resources. The Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD) contributes the rest through the project “Support for the Commission of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition of Colombia from Catalonia”.

On July 12, the Parliament of Catalonia hosted the presentation of the final report of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition of Colombia, in a very emotional act with a representation of victims of the Colombian conflict exiled in Catalonia and followed by about 250 attendees.

As the Technical Secretariat of the Truth Commission in Europe, the ICIP has produced different audiovisual materials to show the impacts of exile and its contribution to the construction of peace in Colombia and to disseminate the work of the Commission.

Documentary 'Para volverte a ver'

In 2022, the ICIP and the Colombian Truth Commission produced a documentary to show the role of the Colombian diaspora and exile in Europe. The film, ‘Para volverte a ver’, is a production of Mandorla Films, an independent audiovisual company specializing in documentaries.

The documentary was filmed in Denmark, Switzerland and Catalonia. In these countries are where they four protagonists of the film live: Yanira Restrepo, Juana Sánchez, Wilmer Torres and Lizethe Álvarez.

Filming ended during a meeting of Colombians in exile that the ICIP organized in April 2022 in Barcelona. Commissioners Carlos Beristain and Lucía González, who also appear in the film, took part in this meeting.

Download the press kit about the documentary here.

Documentaries and shorts about the process of recognition of exile

In an unprecedented initiative, 120 victims who fled Colombia due to the armed conflict have created two songs about the exile with the support of singer-songwriter Marta Gómez. The first, ‘Surcos de amor’, talks about the relationship the victims maintain with Colombia in their imagination. The second, ‘Vuelve’, is intended as a symbolic response from Colombia to the victims.

Five chapters on the impacts of exile on Colombian women

In support of the Truth Commission, the ICIP and the gender intermodal group produced with Alharaca Radio Feminista a series of five podcasts about Colombian women in exile and in the diaspora, ‘Semillantes’.

The podcasts were born to keep alive the memory of the women forced to leave Colombia due to the armed conflict.

The ICIP and the Colombian Truth Commission have published various reports and infographics to document, dignify and socialize the experiences of the victims of the Colombian conflict exiled abroad.