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.
FARC dissident fronts increased violence throughout country, particularly south and east. First front kidnapped UN employee 3 May after meeting on coca crop substitution in Miraflores town, Guaviare. 7th front dissident group attacked army with IEDs 13-14 May near San José del Guaviare, no injuries reported. 14th front dissidents kidnapped two people in Cartagena del Chairá, south, 14 May. FARC peace process continued to move forward slowly. Constitutional Court 17 May struck down two parts of law enabling bills relating to peace accord to be approved by “fast track” procedures in Congress, raising concerns that FARC confidence in process could be undermined. With FARC disarmament behind schedule, President Santos 29 May announced govt, FARC and UN had agreed to twenty-day extension to original 31 May deadline for formal end of arms handover. UN Security Council ambassadors visited Colombia 3-5 May, reiterated support for peace process. Senate 11 May passed FARC political reintegration law, while Congress 2 May designated sixteen Special Constituencies created to give conflict-affected areas representation in Congress. Government and local community organisations 13 May signed first agreements for coca crop substitution, and process began in parts of Meta and Guaviare departments. ELN peace process continued slowly: top three commanders 9-11 May met with FARC leadership in Cuba, leading ELN to adopt more positive stance regarding FARC peace process but had little effect on group’s view of govt. ELN attacks continued, including kidnapping of eight people in Chocó 7 May, later released. Several members of armed forces killed and wounded in attacks in Arauca, Norte de Santander and Cauca. Neo-paramilitary group Clan del Golfo, or Gaitan Self-Defence Forces, continued isolated killings of police and armed forces throughout country.
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.
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.
[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
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.