We the undersigned, who cast spoiled votes in the recent plebiscite, or abstained from voting, or voted yes, all members of civil society and as such under Article 22 of the Colombian Constitution, are entitled to the right to Peace, which is greater than the mere partial cessation of an armed conflict, such as the one signed in Havana. It is not just the lack of physical violence but also the absence of socio-economic violence in social relations: given that peace is not possible if there is not a daily respect and fulfilment for all members of civil society, of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. And that it is “essential that human rights be protected by the rule of law, so that people not be compelled towards the ultimate recourse of rebellion against tyranny and oppression” (UN).
We are conscious of the fact that the negotiations with the insurgency, may suppress an important factor of violence, but do not solve the grave fundamental problems of society which mainly affect the people, who do not enjoy full democratic freedoms, nor essential rights such as work, land, health, education, housing and public services are denied to them or cutback, leading to profound social inequality.
Sure of the need to carry out deep structural reforms that modify property relations and the distribution of wealth, we require a new Political Constitution and we propose that we struggle for a broad, democratic, popular National Constituent Assembly that designs the new institutions that will make the longed for peace with social justice a reality.
For all of the above reasons, we have set up a COUNCIL that will promote the National Constituent Assembly and also because we believe, along with other sectors, that it does the country, nor the peace process no good that the results of the plebiscite be managed by the class in power in order to settle their differences and give continuity to the system that must be changed as it is the cause of the violence and the conflict we have suffered.
Likewise, we view positively the beginning of a dialogue for an end to the armed conflict with the ELN and we hope that its first fruits is a bilateral ceasefire and we note with optimism that the ELN has manifested that in the entire process it will be accompanied by civil society. We will be fully disposed to accompany it in complete freedom and autonomy to highlight our points of agreement and disagreements: we will support that which means an increase in rights and reject that which means a violation, reversal or denial of rights.
The Council for the Constituent Assembly, in order to avoid a new exclusion, informs the national and international community, that we will be active partners in the search for real peace and will make every effort to engage in dialogue with all the armed actors (ELN, FARC, EPL), the State and particularly civil society organisations, because it is clear that the inalienable and fundamental right to peace that all Colombians have, is not conditioned by or subordinated to the maintenance of the public order of the national government.
The Council for a National Constituent Assembly that we have set up is open to all sectors interested in our proposal, join, participate, strengthen it, and thus join forces.
A National Dialogue Now, both within and outside the Constituent Assembly.
The Council for a National Constituent Assembly
18th of October 2016
Unión Patriótica Bases en Rebelión
Movimiento por la Constituyente Popular-MCP-
Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores-PST-
Colectivo Nacional Sindical Clasista-GM-
Memame Colectivo Pueblo
Colectivo Vida Digna-Ciudad Bolívar-
Juventud Democrática Popular-Judep-
Comité San Juan de Todos
Jaime Araujo Rentería. Former Magistrate of the Constitutional Court.
Editson Romero. University Lecturer