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ICC Note: The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have just declared a ceasefire, ending a 50-year civil war that displaced millions and killed hundreds of thousands. In response to the ceasefire, celebrations among churches and other faith-based groups have broken out across the country. This war has been the cause of countless human rights violations and hundreds of church leaders have lost their lives as a result of the conflict.

By Florence Taylor

06/24/2016 Colombia (Christian Today) – Churches are celebrating following the declaration of a ceasefire in Colombia, ending five decades of civil war.

A peace agreement was signed between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest illegal armed group.

“This represents an important step forward in bringing an end to a conflict that has left millions of victims over more than half a century of conflict,” said Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

The civil war in Colombia is the longest running in the Western hemisphere and has left around 220,000 people dead and millions displaced.

There have been human rights infringements by all sides during the war, according to CSW, including the violation of religious freedom. Hundreds of church leaders have been targeted and assassinated since 2000.

The peace agreement has built in a reconciliation process that pledges to bring clarity to the thousands of open cases of murder and disappearance.

Churches and faith-based organisations affiliated with the Inter-Ecclesial Dialogue for Peace are holding simultaneous liturgical celebrations across the country today.

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