NewsThe truth will restore trust

María Ángela Salazar Murillo, Colombia Peace UNMPTF

"I want the victims’ truth to be known, but also that of the armed actors".

I am María Ángela Salazar Murillo, an afro-descendant woman, mother of 4. I was born in Tadó, Chocó and I have lived for over 30 years in the Urabá Antioqueño. I work with the people, defending their rights. Life is within the causes of each one, whatever moves the soul and the body to work. My passion has been the rights of women victims in Apartadó. I have worked as a social leader and activist, and I have worked in various national groups engaged in peacebuilding.

I am also passionate about helping the workers of the banana plantations in Urabá, so that work does not become a burden, but rather a purpose. I started there in the eighties, teaching workers, boys and girls from the camps of the banana farms how to read and write. I have had the chance to be the spokesperson of victims during the demobilization process of both the Guerrillas and Paramilitary Groups of the region, helping ex-combatants to commit themselves to the process and to meet the demands of the victims. It is moving to be at that point where the intentions of peace can converge in empathy, and to see how we give way and reach agreements.

I have personally documented some 550 cases, mostly women victims of Paramilitary Groups in Urabá, Córdoba and Chocó. I have participated in structuring the list of proposals of the victims that were submitted to the Colombian Congress for the creation of Law 1448-Victims Law, and I was also part of the team that built the list of proposals and petitions taken by the victims to the Peace Process in Havana.

Right now, I am the Commissioner for the Truth Commission, which I consider a great honor. I am the guarantor of our understanding that all truths deserve to be heard. There is displacement, disappearances, but there are also children who grew up killing in the forests and today are being judged. I am confident that the truth will restore trust in others, in the country and in life.