Colombia: A Hard Path to Peace

A group of guerrilleros walking through the Colombian mountains A group of guerrilleros walking through the Colombian mountains © John Vizcaino/Reuters

16 January, 2018
On the 10th of January, the UN Security Council received a quarterly report concerning the complex process of reintegration of FARC-EP ex-combatants.

Jean Arnault, the Special Representative of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, listed a number of topics that were addressed during the reunion. The main issue was the progress in the socio-economic reintegration of the 14,000 former fighters of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) through the creation of Zonas Veredales Transitorias de normalización (ZVTN). The ZVTN are rural areas protected by public forces, which are used to reintegrate the guerillas. Such areas are training places from where they begin to be slowly reinstated into society. Moreover, in collaboration with ex-combatants, the armed forces were also able to confiscate hidden weapons from 60 dump sites. However, in spite of these efforts, the Secretary-General reported “an increase in homicides in areas located in former conflict zones particularly affected by illegal economies” and the violence includes the assassination of social leaders and activists as well as  FARC-EP leaders.

The temporary ceasefire between the government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) was another topic discussed during the meeting. The UN Verification Mission was responsible for monitoring the ceasefire, which expired on 9th January, 2018; the government and the ELN reconvened to negotiate a renewal of the ceasefire amongst public outcry.

With regards to the transitional justice in Colombia: some activists expressed their concerns over the exclusion of magistrates, who defended the fighters involved in the conflict over the last 5 years, from participating in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP). The SJP, will put on trial, those considered responsible for the most serious crimes committed during the conflict.

The political reintegration of the guerillas is continuing with elections this year. Hopefully, the parliamentary and presidential elections will be an opportunity to consolidate the introduction of the new political party of FARC.


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