London, 3 September 2019
Justice for Colombia Statement on Colombian Peace Process
On Thursday 29th August a video was released showing Iván Márquez, the lead negotiator for the FARC during the Colombian peace talks, together with a group of several armed men and women including high profile members of the FARC, among them another key negotiator Jesús Santrich. In the video they announced their decision to return to arms citing a lack of compliance with the Peace Agreement from the Colombian state.
The announcement offers another serious challenge to the Colombian peace process which, after an initial period of hope, has faced growing difficulties. This has been particularly due to actions of the Colombian government and the President’s party in Congress which have led to slow or non-existent implementation of many elements of the Agreement as well as to fundamental changes to what was agreed. Since the signing of the deal there has also been a catastrophic level of violence targeted against social leaders with over 500 murdered and close to 140 FARC members in the reincorporation process also killed.
In spite of the challenges, the FARC political party, formed as part of the Peace Agreement signed in November 2016, has reaffirmed its support for ongoing compliance with the Peace Agreement and the vast majority – at least 90% – of the over 13,000 FARC members who took part in the peace process remain committed to the reincorporation process.
Justice for Colombia reiterates its firm support for the Colombian peace process and continues to view the Peace Agreement as a momentous opportunity to take important strides in addressing the core social and political causes of the Colombian armed conflict. Peace will never truly exist in Colombia until the deeply entrenched social and political inequalities are confronted. At the same time, the Peace Agreement offers a transitional justice system which provides truth, reconciliation and ensures the rights of all victims are respected.
It is essential that the Colombian government fulfils its commitments in the peace deal. If it does not, this historic opportunity will only retreat further into the distance. The Agreement signed with the FARC has been officially recognised by the United Nations and implementation of all elements of the Agreement is an obligation of the Colombian state. The transitional justice system (JEP) and the Truth Commission must be respected, the rural reforms need to be implemented, and it is crucial that the social and economic reincorporation of former FARC combatants is guaranteed.
Justice for Colombia will continue its work to support the full implementation of the Colombian Peace Agreement. And it is as important now as ever that support continues to arrive from all of those internationally who are committed to seeing peace truly becoming a reality in Colombia.