Kolumbien: Norha Patricia Buriticá Céspedes

We are tired of being lodgers in our own country, of having our feelings disregarded.

— Norha Patricia Buriticá Céspedes

In Colombia, human voices have been superimposed by the noise of bullets. The words, which are articulated, are only heard as a monologue uttered by the owners of the weapons. The trade union leader, Patricia Buriticá, is convinced that words should serve for something other than to legitimize the power of the warmongers. She has been putting intensive efforts into the creation of a movement in favour of peace, a movement in which the voices of women are heard.

“I consider that nothing can justify war or any kind of violence. I think that societies can advance without people killing each other. No death is justified,” says Patricia Buriticá. This experienced trade union leader, born in Bogota, puts her finger on it, when she claims that, even if the entire Colombian society suffers due to the endemic violence that affects this South American country, when the time comes to search for solutions, one important part of society is excluded: the women. From the United Workers Confederation (CUT), Patricia began the arduous work of creating a women's trade union movement that would have an impact on the negotiations between the opposing parts of the conflict. At an international conference of pacifist women, she learned about the experience of Central American women that were left outside of the negotiation processes in their countries. The conclusion was civil war. Colombian women learned from this experience and examined their own approach. “We realized then that, when we lacked a unified argument, we were like the tower of Babel. So we began to work with a unified goal and to see ourselves as actors on the political stage in our work for peace.” This work was crystallized in a document with the title: Agenda of Women for Peace, and in the creation of the Constituyente Emancipatoria (Emancipating Constitutional Group) of Women for Peace. “The voices of women must be heard in the peace process. We have so much to say. And men do not hear us,” she reflects. “Women are the ones who suffer the greatest hardships of war and, therefore, they are the ones who can make common sense prevail when faced with arbitrariness and the desire for power.”

Colombian Women's Initiative Alliance for Peace (IMP)