FIFTY FARCing YEARS LATER

As with all new institutions, the effectiveness and success of the peace agreement should be judged by the tangible results it can deliver. In Colombia, we can hope for durable and sustainable peace, non-repetition of violence, and full reintegration of former combatants.
Jennifer Lynn McCoy, World Post, Oct. 10, 2015
O

n September 23rd, 2015, the world watched as 50 years of violent conflict, and 3 years of tentative talks, culminated in an only-slightly-awkward handshake between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londoño, the leader of the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Force, or FARC. The shake was the final embodiment of the latest round of negotiations, which for the first time ever, actually resulted in a tangible step forward. The two sides have been warring for as long as anyone can remember. This victory of diplomacy is one to be celebrated within Colombia for certain, but it could also very well be a model for ending current and future conflicts around the world. Multiple factors lend credence to the revolutionary status of this agreement; to start, it is the first civil conflict to be negotiated to a resolution under the relatively new standards of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which  hold combatants who’ve committed serious human rights abuses accountable; this peace process will be the first of its kind to include victims at the negotiating table; and for the first time ever, civil war will end without simply granting amnesty to all sides, but rather upholding “restorative justice.” Included in this deal is the right to run for political office, alongside amnesty for crimes related to “political rebellion.” Adding to the novelty of this restorative justice is the premise that punishments will largely be in the form of community service, as opposed to incarceration. This type of justice, which focuses on the victims rather than just the perpetrators, could very well be the model for peaceful conclusion of conflicts in all countries. While just over half of all Colombians surveyed support the peace process, those numbers could likely be raised by simply educating the public on the goals of this agreement and the potential for achieving them. As of the 23rd of September, the negotiators have six months to settle on the final agreement, and 60 days after that the FARC will lay down its weapons. Only then, will we see if Colombia has truly set the global pace for peace.

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Colombia and Farc rebels announce ‘peace’ breakthrough ||  euronews

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While the government has, at times, threatened to pull out of talks if they don’t accelerate or if frustrations don’t ease, FARC has made one thing clear: It will not sign off on just any kind of a peace deal.Nadja Drost, Al Jazeera, Sept. 27, 2015

Now that tensions between the Colombian government and the Marxist group FARC seems to have eased, the Unites States has announced, through their Colombian ambassador, that they will let the South American country decide how to deal with FARC criminals on their own.Roberto Ontiveros, Latin Post, Oct. 15, 2015

The FARC is the largest, yet by no means the only armed group operating in Colombia. The peace deal may lead to its demobilisation but will do nothing to tackle Colombia’s other violent groups – … The peace deal could radically reshuffle these armed groups – and the consequences could be chaotic.Annette Idler, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2015
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FIFTY FARCing YEARS LATER

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