For the full report click here: Justice for Colombia Peace Monitor – Report #02
This report details the conclusions from the Justice for Colombia (JFC) Peace Monitor delegation to Colombia which took place between 15 and 21 August 2018.
The JFC Peace Monitor delegation, comprised of British parliamentarians, trade union leaders, and a Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissioner visited Colombia to observe the current state of implementation of the peace agreement signed between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP.
This was the second in a series of JFC Peace Monitor delegations which will continue to observe the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement throughout 2019.
This report recognises the official mechanisms that exist for verification of implementation of the peace agreement and does not have the intention of offering an exhaustive verification of all elements of the Final Peace Agreement. The objectives of the report are to detail the principal themes that were raised during the visit in terms of advances and concerns.
Justice for Colombia, and the JFC Peace Monitor and all its supporters are grateful to all of the individuals, organisations, and institutions who made themselves available during this delegation and have expressed a commitment to continue collaborating with this project. Due to this visit coinciding with the change in government in Colombia, and unlike the previous delegation in April 2018, it was not possible to meet officially with Government representatives on this occasion.
Whilst this report highlights many of the concerns that were expressed during the delegation, at the same time we recognise and congratulate the significant work being done on both sides of the negotiations and across different institutions and organisations often in the face of incredible difficulties and complexities to help ensure that the peace agreement between the Colombian State and the FARC brings a sustainable peace to Colombia. We also welcome the expressions of commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement from the new Colombian Government.
Many supporters of the Colombian peace process had for a long time been concerned about how the change in Colombian Government might affect the peace process. However, whilst recognising the many ongoing challenges, there was a sense of growing optimism during the delegation that the worst fears of a complete reversal of the previous Government’s approach would not be realised. The renovation of key implementation bodies and the arrival of the FARC into the Colombian congress were key advances and welcome indications of the ongoing adherence of the Colombian executive to its obligations under the terms of the Final Peace Agreement.
However, concerns remained regarding the Government party’s ongoing efforts to change key elements of the agreement reached by the two negotiating teams. There were particular concerns at potential changes to the transitional justice system that could have adverse effects for the victims of actions carried out by the State during the armed conflict and an emphasis on the importance of the new Government offering funding guarantees for implementation programs.
The extreme intensification in killings of social leaders and human rights defenders including those involved with supporting the implementation of the peace agreement was especially worrying and despite positive words from the Government, concrete action is required to focus prosecution on the intellectual authors of these killings.
Advancement on issues of land and rural development – themes which lie at the heart of armed conflict – continued to be seen as an urgent requirement with significant emphasis also placed on their interrelation with other elements of the Final Peace Agreement. The socioeconomic reincorporation of FARC members and the crop substitution programs continued to advance slower than expected, and it was clear that their success is intrinsically tied to the ongoing implementation of the chapter on Comprehensive Rural Reform.
Whilst the initiation of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace was welcomed there were considerable concerns expressed in relation to some of the legal challenges that are questioning its ability to function with autonomy. These challenges have emanated particularly from the Attorney General’s Office. The ongoing imprisonment and potential extradition of Jesús Santrich and the sense of legal insecurity that has been generated for members of the FARC were also issues which had generated considerable concerns including in relation to both Jesús Santrich and Iván Márquez not taking up their seats in the Congress. The release of Jesús Santrich is crucial to the success of the peace process.
In spite of the challenges, the ongoing commitment to the peace process from all of those with whom the delegation met was unwavering. The most significant element of the Colombian armed conflict has been brought to an end, and the delegation recognises that everyday lives are saved as a result. However, the challenge remains to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the peace process and to implement the chapters focused on the principal causes that created the conditions for the armed conflict to emerge and sustain itself for more than fifty years.
For the fulll report follow this link: Justice for Colombia Peace Monitor – Report #02