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Women Waging Peace in Colombia
Monday, April 28, 2008 - 2:00pm to Monday, April 28, 2008 - 4:00pm
Maria Ruth, human rights activist and mother of six who is risking her life to create peace with justice in one of the most war-torn regions of Colombia, was elected to the Arauquita municipal council as a representative of the Alternative Democratic Pole opposition party in October 2007. As she was traveling with the mayor and other council members on January 26, their caravan was attacked by the guerrillas and four police escorts were killed.

In addition to the threats from the guerrillas, Maria Ruth has also been threatened by the government security forces. Her first husband was assassinated because of his involvement with the Patriotic Union party - which posed a strong challenge to the Colombian government.

"Arauca is a very beautiful and fertile state that is being destroyed by the war and the oil corporations," says Maria Ruth. "I want my children to be able to live in peace and to enjoy the rivers, estuaries and grasslands of Arauca. Instead of sending more weapons, we ask that the U.S. government use your tax dollars to provide support for schools, health care and decent housing - in Arauca, as well as the U.S."

Maria Ruth and four other women organized the creation of the Guaduales neighborhood in Arauquita and she was the first neighborhood president. She is a founding member of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Arauca and is the Committee's representative in Arauquita. She is also the president of the municipal human rights commission.

Maria Ruth is being accompanied by Scott Nicholson who has been in Arauca since July 2006 documenting the human rights situation in the region. The presentation will include some of his photos of Arauca.

Monday, April 28th, 2008
Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free and open to the public

For more information contact Richard White, Nohad Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, 503-725-4046 or

Maria Ruth's tour is sponsored by the Montana Human Rights Network, Lutheran World Federation, and Community Action for Justice in the Americas in conjunction with Witness for Peace. She is sponsored at PSU by the School of Urban Studies and Planning International Community Development Fund and the Center for Academic Excellence.