After four years of up-and-down negotiations, the Colombian government and rebel FARC guerrillas signed a peace agreement in November 2016. To implement it, the country must now deploy major financial, institutional and human resources to address the inequalities that sustained the conflict for five decades. Working on the conflict since 2002, Crisis Group has published more than 36 reports and briefings and had over 500 meetings with all parties. We monitor deal implementation and carry out field research on issues ranging from local corruption to drug trafficking and local institutions. We are well-positioned to influence all stakeholders in the peace process in order to support sustainable and inclusive peace efforts in Colombia.
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.
Govt and National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group 4 Sept announced bilateral ceasefire from 1 Oct-12 Jan 2018, while month also saw Gulf Clan leader offer to surrender group to judicial system. Under govt-ELN agreement, latter committed to cease kidnappings, end child recruitment and stop placing landmines; govt to take steps to protect human rights defenders, assess humanitarian situation of jailed ELN fighters, and move forward in negotiations on broader social participation in peace process. Second UN mission, which began work 26 Sept, will monitor ceasefire. Ceasefire announcement came ahead of visit by Pope Francis 6-10 Sept in which he expressed support for peace process. Govt negotiator Juan Camilo Restrepo 12 Sept told Reuters peace negotiations with “highly radical, ideological” ELN would be more difficult than with FARC. ELN attacks continued in Arauca province on Venezuela border, killing two civilians and a policeman, while appearing to decrease elsewhere. Police operation 31 Aug killed number two of Gulf Clan (aka Gaitanistas), alias Gavilán, in north west. President Santos 5 Sept said group leader alias Otoniel had offered to surrender group to judicial system and, under right conditions, group would cease its involvement in illegal activities. Santos said attorney general and justice ministry studying legal options and viability of group’s proposal. Killing of individual police officers continued but on lesser scale: two police officers killed by Gulf Clan since Otoniel’s announcement. Reports emerged of divisions within FARC over who should lead new political party. FARC dissidents continued violent attacks, killing two civilians in Guaviare 15 and 20 Sept; defence ministry 28 Sept announced dissident leader alias Euclides Mora killed in air force operation in Guaviare. FARC’s formal declaration of $332mn assets in Aug showed significant holdings, especially land, in hands of dissident groups, including in four of five wealthiest fronts (40th, 1st, 7th and 62nd fronts).
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.
There is a [...] belief in Colombia that if you are an illegal armed group without a particular ideology, fighting the state would be enough to pressure the government into entering a peace process.
For the FARC, the subject of money has always touched a nerve. If it's shown they have a lot of wealth, it adds fuel to the narrative that they are simply drug traffickers.
[The FARC rebel leader] “Pollo” wanted to return to the peace process since at least January, and in March he submitted a list of 333 dissident militia members who wanted to surrender.
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.
In this video, our Senior Analyst for Colombia, Kyle Johnson, highlights the main findings of Crisis Group’s report “In the Shadow of “No”: Peace after Colombia’s Plebiscite”. Johnson argues that rebuilding Colombian public’s trust will need swift and effective implementation of the revised peace agreement - including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.
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