In 1997 a joint paramilitary and U.S.-backed military operation ravaged Uraba, Colombia under the pretext of fighting guerrilla forces. Approximately 6000 farmers had to flee to save their lives. Many of these families are now attempting to return to their homes and land, which have since been largely taken over by palm oil corporations, large scale cattle ranging and extensive logging.
Many of the communities from Uraba are using Humanitarian Zones (internationally recognized zones protected by the Inter American Court on Human Rights) as enclaves of peaceful civil resistance in the middle of the armed conflict. The Humanitarian Zones allow community members to gradually move closer to their original territories.
Witness for Peace's Colombia-based International Team reports from the Humanitarian Zones of Uraba:
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