IA Events

Talk: Spaces of Humanitarian Resistance: Community neutrality in the Colombian conflict

Publication date: Mar 17, 2014 3:41:21 PM

Start: Mar 24, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: Mar 24, 2014 7:30:00 PM

Location: UCL DPU Building Room 101, 34 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ

Peace Community San Jose de Apartado

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó is a collective of over 500 peasant farmers in the Urabá region of North-West Colombia. The community has faced threats, displacement, and massacres due to its principled decision to declare itself as neutral in the midst of war. Since its formation in 1997, over 200 farmers from the region have been murdered. With many economic interests in their lands and the continued presence of illegal armed groups, the community remains in grave danger, and remaining on their land is a daily struggle.   

Their declaration of neutrality is based on the principle of distinction between combatants and civilians in international humanitarian law.  Living spaces are clearly marked out as civilian; members claim their right to non-involvement in the conflict and demand that armed actors do not enter their living areas. This principle has enabled them to return to many of their settlements after displacement.

The speakers, German Graciano Posso and Gildardo Tuberquia Usuga will share experiences of peaceful resistance against the odds, drawing on their use of international human rights law and the collective resilience of pursuing and promoting their way of life. 


German Graciano Posso was born in 1982. His father and various family members have been murdered by paramilitaries and other armed groups. Due to this violence the whole family were displaced from El Porvenir in 1996. In 2013 his leadership and hard work led German to be elected legal representative of the Peace Community.

Gildardo Tuberquia Usuga was born in 1974. He has been a member of the Internal Council of the Peace Community since its foundation in 1997. In February 2005 paramilitaries on patrol with the Colombian army committed a massacre in his home hamlet of Mulatos, displacing the rest of the village. In 2008, Gildardo initiated and led their return.  He now coordinates the Eduardo Guerra Peace Hamlet, named after one of the murdered leaders.

The event is co-hosted by The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL Institute of the Americas, Peace Brigades International UK, and UCL Colombian Society. Attendance is free of charge, but registration is recommended.