Caritas Presses Bid for Peace in Colombia

ROME, MARCH 11, 2005 ( After a 10-day visit to Colombia, Caritas officials launched a special appeal to help promote peace in the country.

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Entitled «Solidarity and Commitment to Peace,» Caritas-Italy released a statement summarizing the conclusions of the visit organized by Caritas-Europe, as part of a larger campaign by Caritas Internationalis for peace in Colombia.

The statement affirms that the Church in the country «constantly committed to peace, reconciliation and support of the 3 million internally displaced because of a conflict that has lasted for 40 years.»

The delegation, which included 10 European parliamentarians, visited some of the communities hardest hit by the violence, including the suburbs of Barranquilla, Cucuta, Florencia and Quibdo.

In addition to meeting with Church figures, the Caritas delegation was received by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez and other government representatives and international observers.

«Caritas-Europe will continue to support the negotiated solution to the armed conflict in the context of the search for truth, justice and reparation in favor of the victims, with the conviction that the military response cannot be the solution to social problems which are at the origin of the conflict,» concluded the statement.

The conflict claims about 4,000 lives annually in this country of 42 million.

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