[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Bishop of Colombia has appealed for prayer after the citizens of the war-torn country narrowly rejected a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Diocese of Colombia, part of the US-based Episcopal Church, was a strong supporter of the peace process and had offered its facilities as “spaces for exercises in reconciliation.” But last week, in a referendum, the peace deal was rejected with 50.2 per cent of the population voting against and only 49.8 per cent supporting it.
“We call on the church to pray a lot so that the necessary accord is reached and so that we can all live as brothers,” Bishop Francisco Duque said. “Let’s achieve a peace that brings justice, reparations and not repetition.”
He said that the result of the reformation had caused shock in the country because those who voted no to the peace deal “didn’t want to let anyone know their opinion before [the vote] so they wouldn’t be judged.”
In June, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches at their meeting in Trondheim, Norway, called for the “full and effective implementation” of the peace deal. This week in Geneva, the WCC’s general secretary, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, repeated the call, saying that “the people of Colombia need and deserve peace, particularly now.”
He said: “Not under any circumstance should we say no to peace. The possibilities for a better, peaceful future for Colombia are greater and more important than any reason that could justify the negative to the agreement signed by the government and the FARC.”
Following the referendum result, officials from the Government and FARC committed to continue talks to secure a peaceful future.
Additional reporting by Clara Villatoro, Episcopal News Service
- A full report on the situation in Colombia will be in the next edition of Anglican World, the quarterly magazine of the Anglican Communion. You can subscribe by clicking here.