Will Colombia finally be at peace? PAX has been working for years behind the scenes to effect a rapprochement between the warring parties in Colombia. In recent years, PAX has also focused its attention on the role of third parties that have committed large-scale human rights violations.
PAX is therefore delighted that—after almost four years of negotiations—an historical agreement has finally been concluded between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla movement. This agreement intends to pave the road towards a ‘stable and sustainable peace’. Last week, a visibly relieved Columbian president Santos addressed the Colombian population from Bogotá, while the negotiators were signing the peace agreement in the Cuban capital of Havana. He said that the population will be able to vote on the agreement on 2 October in a referendum. The outcome of this referendum will determine whether the peace agreement takes effect or not.
Together with local partners, PAX will devote efforts in the coming weeks to encourage the Colombian people to vote ‘yes for peace’. The agreement shows a good balance between reconciliation and justice. Not only the rebels but also the military commanders and third parties who have committed severe human rights violations will be held accountable. This concerns e.g. companies that have provided financial support to armed groups. In addition, reparations for victims are a core starting point in the implementation of the agreement.
No guerrilla movement
Once the peace agreement takes effect, the FARC fighters will have six months to hand in their weapons to the United Nations. The guerrilla movement will become a political party with the guarantee that it will be able to provide five members of parliament for ten years. The comprehensive peace agreement has been disclosed on Thursday 25 August.