The Colombian Truth Commission has an innovative mandate without precedent in other truth commissions, which involves working with people who had to flee the country during the five decades of armed conflict.
In the case of Europe, in May 2019, the Commission signed a collaboration agreement with the International Catalan Institute for Peace to act as Technical Secretariat, with the aim of facilitating work with Colombian victims, social organizations and institutions in the European countries where these people reside.
The centrality of the victims and their active participation in this whole experience means that the process of working with them can in itself constitute an act of recognition towards them and, at the same time, have the effect of healing and closing the wounds brought about by the conflict. Therefore, for ICIP as technical secretariat, this process with the victims is the main focus of the work, and has been conceived and addressed as an objective in itself.
In Europe, participation has been structured on three levels:
- Nodes or support groups for the Commission. There are 15 support groups in 10 countries: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain (Andalusia, Catalonia, Madrid, Basque Country and Valencia), France and South of France, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland;
- Intermodal working groups or coordination spaces throughout Europe in relation to thematic areas: gender, psychosocial accompaniment, recognition of victims, relatives of victims of enforced disappearance, second and third generations in exile;
- Taking testimonies, for which some 90 people have been trained and have contributed to the work of clarification with victims living in European countries.
Specifically, in its role as Technical Secretariat in Europe, ICIP has the following duties:
- Accompany, advise, facilitate and coordinate the interviewers, the nodes and the working groups in Europe.
- To serve as a liaison between the initiatives in Europe and the Commission.
- To inform the Commission on the processes of participation in Europe and to make proposals to strengthen them.
- Assist the Commission in the logistical and methodological organization of activities and events in Europe.