Barcelona, 8 May 2019.- On Tuesday, in Bogotá, the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) and the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition of Colombia signed the collaboration agreement that grants ICIP the role of Technical Secretariat of the Truth Commission in Europe. The objective of this collaboration is to facilitate the work of the Truth Commission with victims living in Europe, in the framework of the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.
Based on this agreement, ICIP will offer technical and logistical support to the activities organized by the Truth Commission in Europe, coordinate working groups established in various European countries (nodes), and provide methodological support to the process of taking testimony from the victims of the Colombian conflict in exile, in order to document cases and contribute to the clarification of the truth, justice and non-repetition of the crimes.
To carry out this process, ICIP organized the first training session of a group of people in charge of conducting interviews with victims in exile, which took place in February in Barcelona. The session brought together forty participants from ten countries, with experience working with victims of the Colombian conflict.
Although ICIP and the Truth Commission have been collaborating together for months, the signing of the agreement took place on Tuesday, in Bogotá, and was attended by ICIP president Xavier Masllorens, ICIP director Kristian Herbolzheimer, and the general secretary of the Truth Commission of Colombia, Mauricio Katz. “There are countries where the victims are very organized; in others, not so much. But we are working well on issues of psychosocial healing, female empowerment and dignification of victims, among others. And now we will continue to do so with the support of the Commission. The victims in exile want to be heard because they really believe that this is an important step towards reconciliation in the country,” said Xavier Masllorens, president of ICIP.
Innovative and unprecedented mandate
The Truth Commission of Colombia has an innovative mandate that is unprecedented in other truth commissions. This mandate involves approaching the tens of thousands of people who had to leave the country during the five decades of armed conflict, searching for new life options, mainly in the Americas and in Europe. The objective for 2019 is to document the cases of a thousand victims in Europe.
The mandate of the Commission envisages a participatory process with the victims themselves, in order to promote their psychosocial healing and coexistence among victims of different armed actors. To accomplish this task, the support of social and institutional organizations in the European countries where these people reside is essential.
To carry out the mandate of the Truth Commission in Europe, work groups (nodes) have been set up in Catalonia, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The creation of additional nodes is planned. addicionals.