The Forgotten Crises: Colombia

On Wednesday October 11th Temple University Rome hosted a conference on the history of the Colombian conflict and on the future of the peace agreement, sponsored and organized by L’Osservatorio

The conference aimed at shedding light on the reasons behind the outbreak of the conflict as well as the process through which the country is now putting an end to it.

The meeting, which was held in English, was moderated by Dr Lorenzo Rinelli, joined by Dr. Corrado Quinto, who talked about the role of L'Osservatorio in monitoring the consequences of conflicts on civilians and informing the broad audience. Two panelists, Dr. Leone Hadavi and Dr. Flavia Famà, focused on the conflict in Colombia, from its genesis to the peace agreements. 


In the 1960’s, with the end of a decade of political violence known as La Violencia, rural communities, facing neglect from  the government, implemented socialism in the the countryside. Following attacks from the army and the central government, the armed group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was established to protect rural communities calling for land reform, better living conditions, and recognition from the government. In the 1970’s FARC began to take a more offensive stance  against the government. The conflict has lasted for over 52 years.

Drug trafficking soon became FARC’s primary source of wealth, which required large amounts of land to harvest the coca plant.

One of the  crimes committed during the conflict was the scandal of the so-called Falsos Positivos, which resulted in thousands of civilians deaths. Many troops would assassinate  civilians from urban areas and dress them as FARC members in order to receive compensation. Villagers rioted and fought for justice. A group of women from the Soacha region is continuing  the fighting to hold the government accountable for the deaths of their sons.

With the Santos presidency came renewed efforts to initiate peace talks. As of 2016, the Colombian government and FARC agreed upon a bilateral ceasefire. Currently, FARC demobilization is ongoing.

L’Osservatorio held a conference with speakers Dr. Flavia Famà and Dr. Leone Hadavi, experts on the Colombian crisis. Its purpose was to shed light on the forgotten crisis, the history and nature of the conflict, the reality of the peace talks, and what the future may hold. Great emphasis was given to discussing the vast human rights violations committed, most notably Falsos Positivos. Also, the great resilience of the victims’ families, who continue to fight for justice.

L’Osservatorio plans to hold more conferences in its commitment to efforts of education and documentation about issues of human rights violations around the world.

To read in more detail about the Colombian peace agreement, please visit:

Note: the photos below are courtesy of Pier Paolo Lisarelli

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