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15 YEARS OF EMBRACING JUSTICE AND SHARING HOPE

Lima.-
    With a thanksgiving ceremony and a public event in memory of victims of political violence in Peru, on January 19 Paz y Esperanza celebrated 15 years of embracing justice, sharing hope and being a pioneering Evangelical human rights organization in Latin America dedicated to defend and promote justice on behalf of persons and communities living in poverty or affected by injustice.
Paz y Esperanza’s beginnings go back to the period of internal armed conflict that began in Peru in the 80's, when the poorest people, living in small communities in the Andes, were caught in the crossfire between the terrorists and Armed Forces. In this context Evangelical-Protestant sectors of the population began to get involved defending and promoting the human rights of people suffering from the onslaught of terror. Motivated by solidarity with those affected by violence, in January 1996 a small group of six professionals decided to establish Paz y Esperanza, continuing the pioneering work that had started under the auspices of the National Evangelical Council of Peru (CONEP) in 1984.

Gradually, Paz y Esperanza built itself up on the motivation, Christian commitment and lengthy experience of its members, developing programs to provide service to prisoners and victims of the armed conflict, human rights education, and helping churches to become more involved in accompanying the poor. Since that time, it has diversified its programming to include a wider range of activities that support its Christian commitment to contribute to the development of Latin American society, being also one of the initiators of the Micah Network and the Micah Challenge Campaign in the region.

Alfonso Wieland, one of the founders and current Co-International Director refers to the new challenges facing today's Paz y Esperanza "yesterday it was the thousands of people who suffered violence on the part of terrorist groups or the Armed Forces. Today it is women and children who are abused and violated and do not real access to justice; it is the thousands upon thousands of poor people who do not benefit from this current economic prosperity; or it is the indigenous populations whose claim to their rights is seen as having been imposed by foreign influence. The current context raises new challenges. We need to affirm justice as a permanent value and practice in all society. We need to rethink, innovate and invent new models of civic participation to influence and resist the powers that crush the dignity of human beings."

Currently, Paz y Esperanza is a fellowship of independent organizations with offices in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, which is united around a vision, mission, principles and common values to respond directly to individuals while at the same time influencing public policy and the authorities that create or apply them.  Fifteen years later, as its slogan says, they  are "passionate for justice" and continue to  believe in the same God, life and justice.

Area International Advocacy and Communications