After four years of up-and-down negotiations, the Colombian government and the rebel FARC guerrillas signed a peace agreement in late 2016. To implement it, the country needs to deploy major financial, infrastructure, institutional and human resources to reverse the inequalities that sustained the conflict. Working with all parties since 2002, Crisis Group has published more than 30 full reports on the five-decade old war. We help those trying to end the conflict by tracking and analysing security threats, as well as the different peace processes over time. We aim to make sure decision-makers and the public share the same impartial, credible information about the commitments needed for peace to take hold.
Revised and ratified after its shock rejection in October 2016’s referendum, Colombia’s peace agreement still lacks sustainable political support. Reversing public distrust will need swift and effective implementation of the accord – including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.
Concentration of FARC forces in cantonments, which began 1 Dec and was meant to be complete by 31 Dec to guarantee timely start to disarmament process, continued in Jan amid logistical problems. FARC and govt negotiated new protocol for FARC to be in cantonments at end of Jan and pushed back schedule for handing over of small and unstable weapons; as of 30 Jan, 2, 500 guerrilla members resident in cantonments. Govt established different commissions from peace agreement, including 17 Jan Special Electoral Mission to review and recommend improvements to elections and electoral structure. UN 29 Jan presented its second progress report stating it had deployed 280 out of 450 total international monitors in country; carried out 288 activities including accompanying FARC movements, visits to pre-grouping sites and meetings with communities, among others; and investigated ten possible ceasefire violations. Govt and FARC 28 Jan announced plan to substitute 50,000 hectares of coca by compensating farmers for voluntary destruction of their crops, previously a source of financing for the guerrillas. Govt also announced plan to forcefully eradicate 50,000 hectares of coca. FARC saw further infighting between Teófilo Forero Mobile Column and part of another dissident unit comprising eight fighters from 14th Front 10 Jan. Peace process with ELN scheduled to begin 7 Feb, after expected release of ELN kidnap victim Odín Sánchez and pardons for two jailed ELN members. Govt additionally released two jailed ELN commanders to facilitate talks. ELN attacks continued in NE. ELN 31 Dec freed kidnapping victim Octavio Figueroa in northern department La Guajira. Violence against social leaders continued at high levels, including murder of local leader in northern department Córdoba 11 Jan, in Cauca 25 Dec and 10 Jan, and one in Urabá 29 Jan. Movements who have received threats and had members murdered include Patriotic March political party, seen as close to FARC.
To convert August’s historic peace deal into a durable end to 52 years of conflict, the government and FARC rebels must redouble efforts to achieve a full cessation of hostilities, a successful plebiscite, and UN-monitored ceasefire and weapons handover process.
Recent advances have given Colombia’s peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) a much-needed respite, but, amid an escalation of violence, the risks of an involuntary collapse are real. Saving the process requires conflict de-escalation, swift progress on the agenda and rallying popular support.
As they move toward a final peace agreement, the negotiators of the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) face the challenge of laying out a credible path for guerrilla fighters to abandon arms and reintegrate into society.
Bringing the National Liberation Army (ELN) into the current round of negotiations is vital for durable peace.
To secure a lasting peace, talks between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels need to include a clear, credible and coherent plan for reckoning with decades of human rights abuses.
The ELN [in Colombia] has still not renounced kidnapping. They might kidnap someone else in the future and we'll be back in the same difficulties.
Not everyone is going to be happy, but I still expect there to be a positive reaction in general [to the revised Colombian peace deal]. We do have an agreement, and I would expect there to be more political pressure on the opposition to accept this new agreement as well.
It's highly unlikely Colombia will achieve peace if Santos and Uribe themselves don't make peace.
[En Colombia], la restitución de tierras topará, en primer lugar, con la falta de infraestructura institucional y, en segundo, con la dificultad de encontrar los terrenos que se prevé repartir
El precio de acceder a penas reducidas es una colaboración plena y voluntaria con la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, es decir, lo que se pierde en términos de castigo se ganará en verdad.
Their weapons are essentially all they have to negotiate, and without them, in the past, members of the group have been killed in extreme numbers. These are existential issues for the FARC
Originally published in Colombia Reports
El anuncio de la instalación de la mesa ha producido mucha expectativa, pero el tiempo para negociar parece ser muy corto y la inmadurez política que ha demostrado esta guerrilla podría complicar aún más el panorama.
Originally published in Razon Publica
Los colombianos han dejado claro que quieren la paz. El referéndum del 2 de octubre obliga a reabrir la negociación para incluir algunas de las demandas implícitas en el voto del No. La dificultad está en negociar mientras el reloj apunta a las presidenciales de 2018.
Originally published in Política Exterior
International Crisis Group congratulates Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on his recognition as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The award comes at a crucial moment as the peace process hangs in the balance, and should encourage all sides in Colombia to seek a rapid end to the war.