Bogota, July 18, 2014 – From July 15th to the 18th, the International Organization for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) held their XV Conference on Forced Migration and Peace at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia, titled 30 Years of the Cartagena Declaration. The Conference was attended by exhibitors from 50 countries, representing five continents and 300 participants.
In this fifteenth edition of the Conference, the case of Colombia received special attention. Roberto Carlos López Vidal, director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies – Thought at Javeriana University, described the Colombian situation as “daily, we speak of forced labor in the Mediterranean, the U.S., and Spain, but some of the most deadly borders are in Colombia and Panama. There are hundreds of people who have to walk through the Darien Gap, a region of the jungle controlled by paramilitary groups and guerrillas, where there is no official data [on the death rate].”
SIMN conducted the Conference’s Fourth Plenary Session, entitled “Towards an Ethical and Democratic Governance of Forced Migration, from the Perspective of the International Forum on Migration and Peace”. Speakers included Father Flor María Rigoni, director of the House for Migrants in Tapachula, Mexico, who spoke on “Causes, Consequences and Sustainable Solutions for Forced Migration”; Father Leonir Chiarello, executive director of Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), who presented on the session’s specific theme of “Towards an Ethical Governance of Forced Migration, from the Perspective of the International Forum on Migration and Peace”; and Ms. Elisa Montaña, from the International Red Cross Committee, who discussed the “International Red Cross Committee’s Humanitarian Actions in Light of Forced Migration in Colombia.”
“This important event, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, has provided a space for reflection on the relationship between forced migration and peace from a global perspective. Conferences like these are fundamental to promoting objective perspectives on migration processes and defining shared responsibilities in the definition and implementation of policies and programs to protect the dignity and rights of migrants and their families.” – Father Leonir Chiarello, Executive Director of SIMN.