A Conversation with Leyner Palacios Asprilla, Representative of Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition (CEV)
with discussant: Pilar Riaño-Alcalá, Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia, Co-Director of Memory and Justice Research Stream
Time and Location:
Sidney Smith Hall 2098, University of Toronto
May 30, 2023 – 6PM
Afro-Colombian lawyer and social leader Leyner Palacios Asprilla has worked for more than 20 years in favour of peace and justice. Palacios is a survivor of a massacre that claimed the lives of 102 people in his hometown of Bojayá, Chocó, located in Colombia’s Pacific Coast region. He founded the Committee for the Rights of Bojayá Victims in 2014. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, received the Global Pluralism Award in 2017, and was named Colombia’s Human Rights Defender of the Year in 2020. From 2020 to 2022 Palacios served on Colombia’s Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition (CEV). He continues to lead community-based and international work for the recognition of the rights of African descendants and Indigenous peoples in Colombia and across the Americas. People of African descent make up more than 20 per cent of the population in Colombia, and 90 per cent of the population in the Pacific Coast region. In recent years, and despite working for a publicly sponsored truth commission, Palacios has been the target of multiple threats. The Final Report of the CEV was published in 2022, as mandated by the Peace Accords signed between the government and leftist FARC rebels in 2016. The CEV collected 30,000 testimonies from victims of the Colombian conflict, including more than 2,000 from persons living in 23 countries outside Colombia, the largest endeavour of its kind ever by a truth commission. In his capacity as a commissioner Leyner Palacios listened to countless individual and collective testimonies of victims of violence in Colombia.