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As someone who ran on a platform that was vehemently opposed to the Peace Accord agreed upon between Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, Ivan Duque presents a challenge to the future of peace in Colombia.

It is unlikely that Duque will uphold or implement many of the aspects of the Peace Accord. The Constitutional Courts of Colombia have already reviewed the Peace Accord and made it clear that the Accord is law and must be upheld by the next three presidents, as the Accord envisions a 15-year implementation period. Despite this, it is still possible for Duque to take such slow measures in implementing the accord that there will be no progress at all during his presidency.

Although Duque has presented the Peace Accord as nothing more than a get-out-of-jail free card for ex-FARC members, in reality, the Accord offers a far-reaching opportunity for Colombia to develop into a more equitable and modern country. Many of the elements of the Accord focus on rural reform in the countryside and increasing educational opportunities and participation in government and politics among all Colombians.

While it is true that there are elements of the Accord that offer relatively lenient punishments to ex-combatants, such as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace that offers a means to avoid jail time, it is also true that this mechanism is largely responsible for preventing more than 7,000 combatants from disappearing and remobilizing.

Rural Reform

The rural reforms mentioned in the Accord are the foundation of creating a truly stable and lasting peace in Colombia. Many of the issues that cause conflict stem from the lack of positive state presence in the Colombian countryside in order to provide the infrastructure necessary for transportation, education, health care, and clean water. Much of this would be remedied by provisions in the Accord. Other provisions would provide a viable alternative to the cultivation of coca crops, so as to provide a continued income for rural farmers without contributing to the production of illicit crops.

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that Duque will implement these aspects of the accord. The section on rural reform alone would take up about 85% of the cost of implementation for the entire Accord, something that would most likely be unpopular with Duque’s supporters. The majority, if not all, of Duque’s support comes from city dwellers and large landholders who benefit from the current status quo and would likely prefer to see resources allocated to urban projects rather than rural ones, as about 77% of all Colombians live in urban areas.

Furthermore, the Santos Administration never introduced the legislation that would be necessary to implement most of the rural reform seen in the Accord. Again, it is very unlikely these provisions will be included in Duque’s agenda, as it would require working against the interests of many of his strongest supporters.

Transitional Justice Mechanisms

In addition to his apathy towards to the rural reforms, Duque is also largely opposed to the transitional justice mechanisms introduced in the Accord, above all the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which Duque has called a “monument to impunity.”

Duque wants to strengthen the punishments handed out to ex-FARC members, but will most likely be unable to do so, as the courts already approved the mechanisms and structure laid out in the Accord. Even if Duque were able to modify the punishments, it would be unlikely that the FARC members would accept any harsher punishments resembling those given to enemies defeated in battle, rather than through negotiated agreements as is the case for the FARC. Duque refuses to acknowledge the many atrocities carried out by the Colombian military during the long Civil War and never speaks of punishment for them.

Additionally, Duque has proposed Constitutional amendments banning amnesties for narcotrafficking, but these could not be applied retroactively and as such would only be able to be applied to future peace accords, not those involving the FARC.

Overall, it is unlikely Duque will carry out any of the provisions of the accord that are not specifically related to the FARC and their demobilization, effectively wasting one of the greatest opportunities Colombia has had to date to see truly meaningful efforts to create a stable and lasting peace.

As Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America said, “The FARC accord, especially its chapters on rural development, coca, victims, and political participation, offered an opportunity to make Colombia a modern, prosperous country.”

To ignore this accord for being “too lenient” on the FARC is frankly a disservice to the thousands of Colombians who have suffered for generations due to this conflict, and to the thousands more who will lose the opportunity to be the generation that undertook the necessary reforms to create a true and lasting peace in Colombia.

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Overview

At 41 years old, Ivan Duque will become the youngest president in Colombian history. Educated as a lawyer and having spent the past decade working in Washington, DC at the Inter-American Development Bank, Duque is a relative newcomer to the political scene.

Duque first appeared in Colombian politics about 20 years ago, serving as an adviser to then-Finance Minister Juan Manual Santos. His political career continued in the United States as well, where he served as an adviser for three Andean countries as the then-Chief of the Cultural Division of the Inter-American Development Bank.

During his time at the IDB, Duque formed a close relationship with former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and later returned to Colombia in 2014 when he was elected to the Colombian Senate with Uribe’s backing.

Concerns

Many are concerned that Duque will act as a puppet for Uribe’s political plans, but Duque is firm in his statements that he will govern as himself, without influence from his mentor. Duque has presented his time spent in Washington as a necessary distance between him and the established Colombian political elite as evidence of his independence from their influence, but his plans so far seem consistent with those of Uribe, whether or not Uribe is directing him.

Other areas of concern surround the Peace Accord, notably Duque’s lack of recognition of state and paramilitary forces as perpetrators of violence. Additionally, Duque does not want to maintain the terms for talks with the ELN that former-president Santos had begun, leaving future talks a mystery.

Plans

Duque has stated that he will make the necessary “corrections” to the Peace Accord in order to emphasize provisions on victims’ rights and to push for greater security measures and punishments for guerrillas.

In order to spur some of the much needed economic growth in Colombia, Duque’s platform includes cuts to business taxes, support for oil and coal industries and to help manufacturing.

Duque is also sees the large influx of Venezuelan refugees spilling over the border into Colombia as a security rather than a humanitarian crisis, and will most likely dedicate a significant effort to addressing this issue.

For more reading: https://newrepublic.com/article/149185/colombia-keeps-electing-presidents-tied-murderers

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As Colombia moves forward with a new administration led by President-elect Ivan Duque, marked by their aversion to the Peace Accord reached by former-president Juan Manuel Santos, the future of the Peace Accord is uncertain and other non-governmental entities have begun to pick up some of the pieces of the accord left abandoned.

The Presbyterian Church of Colombia has a considerably smaller presence than the Catholic Church, but focuses on more progressive approaches to many social problems. With a strong presence in Barranquilla, Urabá and Bogotá, and serving Afro-descendants, Indigenous and displaced persons, the Presbyterian Church has long been a proponent for peace.

Recently, CRLN was able to meet with representatives from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia and the Reformed University to discuss the current status of the peace process in Colombia, as well as the Church’s role in this process.

The Church’s main areas of involvement include: monitoring the implementation process; educating demobilized FARC members through the Reformed University; running reconciliation processes in communities and; providing leadership for DiPaz, an ecumenical group based out of Bogotá.

DiPaz has been involved in social processes and accompanying communities that work in building peace with justice through nonviolent action, the search for truth and justice that would allow for true reconciliation in Colombia.

Conversation focused on the current status of the Peace Accord in Colombia, which the representatives from the Church and University saw as shaky at best. They thought that the peace process would be unlikely to continue into the administration under Ivan Duque, and although that administration cannot legally do anything to end the accord, it seems likely that they will simply kill the initiatives through inaction.

One of the most controversial aspects of the Peace Accord is the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, known in Spanish as La Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, and commonly referred to by its Spanish acronym as la JEP. La JEP was designed to exercise judicial functions and fulfill the duty of the Colombian state to “investigate, prosecute and sanction crimes committed in the context of and due to the armed conflict.”

La JEP offered amnesty for certain crimes in exchange for an admission of guilt from the perpetrators in order to facilitate some sort of reconciliation and transitional justice. However, not even state actors could unanimously declare support for this – the Colombian military supported la JEP, due to the ability to avoid any jail time, whereas former president Álvaro Uribe and his supporters, some of the most vocal opponents of the Peace Accord and its mandates, are strongly in opposition to la JEP as it requires an admission of government wrongdoing.

Due to the controversial nature of la JEP, it has progressed in its mandate much slower than planned. It seems that little will be done with the reconciliation aspect, especially under the new administration, and so the Presbyterian Church is working to pick up some of the pieces.

The Church is now working to carry out much of the reconciliation aspect, running reconciliation processes through the churches in local communities. These processes typically consist of a demobilized FARC member or Colombian military member coming to the Church and admitting guilt and asking those in the community for forgiveness.

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Background

In 2016, the Colombian government, under then-President Juan Manual Santos, reached an agreement for Peace with the long-standing rebel group FARC, whose acronym in Spanish stands for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Left out of this Accord, unfortunately, were the other major rebel group ELN and the paramilitary forces that often seemed to carry out atrocities with the tacit approval of the Colombian military. Atrocities against civilians were committed by all of these groups during the civil conflict in Colombia, which has been ongoing for the past 50+ years, despite multiple previous efforts to reach peace.

This accord was the first to include such broad citizen participation in the negotiation stage, which was held in Havana, Cuba, and included multiple representatives from civil society, including representation of Afro-Colombians, Indigenous persons and women.

Despite these high levels of involvement, when the Peace Agreement was put to a public vote in a plebiscite in the fall of 2016, Colombians voted No to peace by a 2% margin. The No camp was strongly led by former-president Alvaro Uribe, a prominent conservative, wealthy landowner and leader of the Democratic Center political party, who campaigned tirelessly to defeat the Peace Agreement.  Many found the peace agreement to be too lenient towards the demobilized members, many of whom would see no jail time for the actions and would receive immediate seats in Congress. Others were swayed by conservative propaganda that alleged that one of the results of the Peace Agreement would be the institution of liberal sex education curricula in the schools.

The Colombian government considered the No camp’s qualms with the agreement and made some revisions accordingly, and the peace agreement passed the Colombian Congress later in 2016.

However, since that time, not much has really been done with the ambitious agreement. The agreement spans multiple issue areas and contains six main focus areas concerned with building a stable and lasting peace. These areas are:

  1. Towards a New Colombian Countryside: Comprehensive Rural Reform
  2. Political Participation: A Democratic Opportunity to Build Peace
  3. End of the Conflict
  4. Solution to the Problem of Illicit Drugs
  5. Agreement Regarding the Victims of the Conflict
  6. Implementation and Verification Mechanisms

Of these issue areas, only about half have seen any sort of marked effort for implementation, and even then not necessarily a full implementation. Illicit crops and their eradication have been a prominent topic, as well as the end of the conflict and means for reincorporation of demobilized FARC members into legal civilian life and areas regarding the victims of the conflict.

Illicit Crops and their Eradication

The section of the accord dedicated to illicit drugs offered many potential solutions for the eradication of crops made for illicit use as well as for the problem of illicit drug use, but neither have really arrived at a truly influential level of implementation.

Eradication of crops has been a slow process, as the fight between manual and aerial eradication continues. Proponents of manual eradication argue that it offers a more thorough and complete eradication of coca crops without spreading harmful herbicides over other crops and the communities, while also offering a more direct method of crop substitution and replanting of other, non-illicit crops. Those in favor of aerial eradication favor the increased efficiency of fumigation by planes or drones and claim that manual eradication is too slow of a process and also leaves open the possibility of resistance from growers.

The Peace Accord offered very explicit proposed solutions that all were centered on crop substitution and joint planning with the affected communities, but in reality it seems as if there has been very little direct involvement of the community growers. In particular, the Peace Accord contains an Ethnic Chapter mandating the direct involvement of Afro-descended and Indigenous community members in planning the implementation phase of the Accord, a stipulation that has so far not been honored.

Despite the government’s plans to eradicate coca crops, Colombia will never see true eradication until the government can offer viable alternative crops or some other means of livelihood to the rural growers. Without a guaranteed source of income, growers will never be willing to substitute their crops and the problem of illicit crops will continue.

End of the Conflict and Reincorporation

The Peace Agreement’s focus on the end of the conflict and reincorporation for demobilized FARC members has most likely been the most effectively implemented portion of the accord.

The end of the conflict centered on the bilateral and definitive ceasefire and cessation of hostilities and laying down of arms. The laying down of arms was a UN monitored mission, as part of the tripartite Monitoring and Verification Mechanism comprised of the Colombian government, the UN and the FARC.

The UN mandate was to maintain a focused presence in areas heavily influenced by the FARC presence and was split into two distinct missions, with the first focused on the laying down of arms and the second as a verification mission. According to the UN, the ratio of weapons to combatants that were turned in was favorable, which is a good indicator of a successful disarmament.

The reincorporation process of the FARC into legal civilian and political life has proved both controversial and somewhat successful, although the government has not fulfilled all the promises of the agreement. The Peace Accord allowed for a section describing the political reincorporation of the FARC as a reorganized political party instead of a rebel group, with representation in Congress as well as funds for running and maintaining a political party.

The Peace Accord also offered a suggested allowance or financial support package for reincorporated FARC members to “start an individual or collective socially-productive project” as well as other economic and social benefits to members.

Although the FARC members have demobilized, many are still without resources or education, both of which were mentioned in the accord, and the lack of these resources have contributed to ongoing conflict in many areas.

Regarding the Victims of the Conflict

The main point in the agreement regarding the victims of the conflict was the establishment of a Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. This system was designed to be made up of different judicial and extra-judicial mechanisms, with the following objectives:

  • to achieve the maximum possible realization of victims’ rights;
  • to ensure accountability for what happened in the conflict;
  • to guarantee the legal certainty of those who take part in the comprehensive system; and
  • to help facilitate social coexistence, reconciliation and guarantees of non-repetition of the conflict.

The System also was designed with four main tenets:

  • Comprehensiveness: the different mechanisms are connected in a coherent manner;
  • Conditionality: each special justice proceeding will be conditional on guarantees of non-repetition, as well as on contributions to the establishment of the truth, and to reparations;
  • Universality: the system will be applied, in a differentiated manner, in order to grant equitable and simultaneous treatment to all those who, having taken part directly or indirectly in the armed conflict, provided that they comply with the relevant conditions of the Comprehensive System; and
  • Participation: the victims will participate in all of the different processes of the Comprehensive System

There are six different mechanisms of the System as laid out in the Peace Agreement:

  • Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition Commission,
  • Special Unit for the search for persons deemed as missing in the context of and due to the armed conflict,
  • Special Jurisdiction for Peace,
  • Comprehensive reparation measures for peace building purposes,
  • Non-Repetition Guarantees,
  • Commitment to the promotion, respect for and guarantee of human rights.

Of these six mechanisms, the most widely seen, and also perhaps the most controversial, is the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The main reason for this controversy stems from the fact that the underlying principal of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (known by its acronym in Spanish as the JEP, or Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz), is a guarantee of amnesty and no requirement for serving any jail time for perpetrators of crimes that admit their wrongdoing and recognize their responsibility, in an attempt to facilitate reconciliation processes.

Many people find this to be too lenient on ex-guerillas as well as ex-military members, as it seems that many will choose to accept their responsibility in exchange for no jail time, but to many of the victims of the conflict this is not a severe enough punishment. The Accord claims that those who “decisively participated in the most serious and representative crimes and recognize their responsibility, will receive a sanction containing an effective restriction of their liberty for 5-8 years, in addition to the obligation to carry out public works and reparation efforts in the affected communities.”

Although the Accord also offers a detailed list of crimes that will not be the object of amnesty or pardon, such as crimes against humanity, genocide, serious war crimes, crimes of a sexual nature, extra-judicial executions, recruitment of minors, and other such serious crimes, many are still not pleased with what they see as a move that is more favorable towards the ex-FARC members and Colombian military members than to the victims.

With all this controversy, the JEP is not progressing as fast as had been intended, and under the new administration, it is uncertain what the future of this special jurisdiction will be.

The Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition Commission has taken some steps in terms of contributing to the historical clarification of what happened and promoting and contributing to the recognition of the victims. However, there is still much to be desired with many mechanisms of the Comprehensive System.

Overall, the Peace Accord has seen much less implementation than many had initially hoped. There has been little done in terms of comprehensive rural reform or implementation and verification mechanisms, and the items regarding political participation still have not seen much in terms of implementation. Voter turnout in Colombia remains low and very divided between urban and rural communities. Many conflict-heavy areas are still struggling, such as rural, Afro-descendent and Indigenous communities, despite the Peace Accord’s intent to involve them directly in decisions affecting their communities, an intent which so far has not been implemented.

New Administration, New Challenges

May 2018 saw the election of Ivan Duque as Colombia’s new president, a staunch conservative and protégé of Alvaro Uribe. One of Duque’s main points during the election was his opposition to the current Peace Accord, something that worries the many proponents of peace in Colombia.

Although Duque cannot completely erase the existing Peace Accord, he can focus on only one part of it or move so slowly to implement it that much of the Accord will remain on paper alone. It remains to be seen if the segment of the Colombian public that wants to see the Peace Accord implemented can bring enough pressure to bear on the Duque administration to push him to do so more quickly and if the international community will be interested enough in the success of the Peace Accord to back them up.

 

For additional reading:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-election/colombia-president-elect-vows-to-unite-nation-alter-peace-deal-idUSKBN1JD03R

http://time.com/5297734/ivan-duque-colombia-election-risk-report/

 

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Guns and Fumigation

U.S. policy toward Colombia relies on massive military aid and harmful chemical fumigation.  Colombian religious and human rights leaders have urged an end to U.S. military aid, saying it only fuels violence and increases human rights violations. They also say U.S.-funded fumigation of coca poisons people, food crops, land, and water.  Both military aid and fumigation displace entire communities – harming indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and rural campesino communities the most severely.  Despite this call, Congress continues to fund new military aid to Colombia with little or no debate.

Delegations

In response to all of this, CRLN has invited a dozen religious and human rights leaders to Chicago from Colombia over the last six years to meet with CRLN members, the media, and Congressional staffers.  In 2001, CRLN organized 12 of its members to participate in the historic Witness for Peace delegation of 100 U.S. citizens to Colombia to investigate the impact of the U.S. $1.3 billion “Plan Colombia”.  In 2003, CRLN also organized 8 African American leaders from Chicago to participate in a special Witness for Peace delegation to visit Afro-Colombian communities under siege.   In 2006, CRLN organized a 10-members delegation from the Chicago Presbytery for the 150th Anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, a vital leader of ecumenical peace and human rights advocacy. To learn more about CRLN Delegations,
click here.

Advocating for Human Rights and Developmental Aid



Each year prior to key votes, CRLN members appeal to Congress for the protection of human rights, the removal of military and fumigation funds in the Foreign Aid Appropriation bill, and a reduction of U.S. troops & contractors deployed in Colombia.  Each week, CRLN interns and volunteers draft and fax letters on CRLN letterhead to government and military officials in Colombia responding to human rights urgent action alerts.

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NOTICIA:

Después de unos días cuando comunidades Afro-Colombianas ocuparon la Panamericana en el Norte de Cauca, y después de sostener ataques de gas lacrimógeno y balas de goma por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad, oficiales locales y federales comenzaron a negociar con las comunidades. Afro-Colombianxs organizadxs insisten que sus territorios sean reconocidos y respetados ahora y durante la implementación de los Acuerdos de Paz. Mientras negocian, muchos de los líderes Afro-Colombianos están recibiendo amenazas por actores paramilitares. CRLN y muchos otros demandan que estos paramilitares sean desmobilizados si el Proceso de Paz en realidad llevará paz al país.


Haga click aquí para apoyar la expansión del Proceso de Paz

entre el estado Colombiano y los guerilleros ELN. Estaremos en comunicación continua con más oportunidades de acción y mientras tanto,

haga click aquí para una oportunidad de ir a una delegación

enfocada en lo que está pasando en Colombia en este momento clave de la historia del país.

—————————

De 4/27/2016: La semana pasada, CRLN estuvo en Washington DC, hablando con miembros del Congreso de Illinois pidiendo que apoyen una Comisión Étnica en las negociaciones de paz de Colombia en Havana, Cuba. Ahora,

2,000 Afrocolombianxs están bloqueando la Panamericana en Cauca

exigiendo respeto para sus territorios ancestrales según Ley 70 & que sus comunidades y pueblos Indígenas tengan un lugar en la mesa de negociación para terminar con una guerra que les ha afectado desproporcionadamente mas:

Lxs manifestantes piden diálogos con el estado Colombianx para hacer posible esta Comisión Étnica representando gente Afrocolombiana y pueblos Indígenas.


En vez de diálogos, están atacados con gas lacrimógeno y balas de goma.



¿Qué puedo hacer?




  1. Llame



    su miembro del Congreso


    y pida que: “contacte el Departamento del Estado para urgir un fin inmediato a las agresiones contra las manifestaciones pacíficas de Afrocolombianxs en Cauca. En vez de atacar, el estado Colombiano debe de dialogar con estas comunidades porque diálogo, no violencia, crea paz. Por favor exprese su apoyo para voces Afrocolomianas e Indígenas en la mesa de negociación de paz por una Comisión Étnica.”
  2. Mandar mensajes de Twitter a Presidente Santos: “.

    @JuanManSantos, @carmeninesVicen Nos preocupa mucho: reportes q niños Afrocolombianos están afecatdox por acciones de ESMAD en Cauca!”


  3. Done para apoyar a los esfuerzos de las comunidades Afrocolombianas organizadas


    para exigir respeto a sus territorios y un lugar en la mesa de necociación.




¿Cómo puedo ver noticias de la situación?




Sigue la página de Facebook de CRLN


y vea el


sitio de la Red de Solidaridad con Afrocolombianxs


, de cual CRLN es una organización miembo.



¿Por qué es tan importante esta situación?


Comunidades Afros e Indígenas han sido afectados desproporcionadamente por cinco décadas de guerra civil, desplazadas de sus territorios ancestrales reconocidos legalmente, e invadidos por industrias extractivas y otros intereses privados. Si la gente más afectada por la violencia no tienen voz en decidir como termina la violencia, no somos optimistas de los resultados de las Negociaciones de Paz.



¿Qué ha sido la respuesta del estado Colombiano?


Hasta ahora, la respuesta es gas lacrimógeno (que mandó a tres niños al hospital), bombas de humo, y balas de goma. La gente exigen diálogo, no violencia.

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From the Fellowship of Reconciliation Website:

In July 2007, FOR and the American Friends Service Committee released a report documenting the first-person experiences of women peace activists in Colombia. “I Will Never Be Silenced: Testimonies of Hope from Colombian Woman” highlights the words and work of 13 women from throughout Colombia – rural and urban, old and young, Afro-Colombian, indigenous and mestizo, artists, religious, political, feminists. These women have tirelessly and fearlessly worked to create peace and justice.

Order your copy today!

Elizabeth Lozano explains in the report’s introduction:

“The violence faced by women is not only inflicted by the machetes, guns, and landmines of the ‘enemy.’ It is also carried out by ‘friendly’ fire, so to speak, in the woman’s daily life. This is the normalized violence exercised without the weapons of war, and manifested in abusive marital relations, implicit or explicit threats of rape, absence of education opportunities, lack of sexual education, and in the general expectation that her right place is the kitchen and the bedroom.”

“I Will Never Be Silenced” brings to readers women who endure these various forms of violence to speak about their experiences and their work to end the violence and impunity in their country.

The 40-page report is available for $6 postpaid for individual copies, or $30 for 10 copies, postpaid.


To order your copy

, please send a check to the FOR office at:

2017 Mission St, 2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94110

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Español aquí


Photo: Government and FARC negotiators finalize details of the Peace Accords where the Ethnic Chapter will be included

After four and a half years of preliminary and formal negotiations and 52 years of war, the Colombian state and FARC guerillas have concluded their peace negotiations and finalized the Peace Accords.

This moment is certainly historic and will mark the first experience of official peace ever experienced by many Colombians. And while we celebrate an end to the fighting between the Colombian state and FARC guerrillas, we also know that the months and years to come will be deeply challenging as real peace is hopefully established for the many sides of Colombian society, not just these two sides of the armed conflict.

CRLN first heard about the finality of the Accords on Tuesday, August 23rd, when our partners at Black Communities’ Process (PCN, their acronym in Spanish) alerted us that the agreements would be signed without the inclusion of an ‘Ethnic Chapter’. For years, African descendant and Indigenous communities have been fighting for a place at the negotiating tables and have organized themselves into an Ethnic Commission constituted by the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA), the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), and the High Government of Indigenous Authorities.

The Ethnic Commission is crucial to a successful and sustainable peace, because much of the peace process concerns rural land that is ancestral territory to the disproportionately African descendant and Indigenous survivors of displacement and violence.

The Ethnic Commission drafted an in-depth ‘Ethnic Chapter’ for the negotiating parties to include in their final accords that would help guarantee successful implementation of the accords in many rural, Indigenous and African-descendant territories. This Ethnic Chapter represents the concerns of organized communities most affected by the violence of the conflict and will help ensure that this final agreement complies with international and Colombian law and anti-racism agreements.

When the Ethnic Commission called for action on Tuesday morning, CRLN and coalition partners across the country responded with as much pressure as possible on Colombian and U.S. officials to include the Ethnic Chapter in the final accord language. Black and Indigenous leaders flew to Havana late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to negotiate the final version of the Ethnic Chapter. Late on Wednesday night, August 24th, we heard from Colombian partners that the ethnic chapter was included, albeit reduced from nine pages to four, in the official Colombian Peace Accords.

Due to consistent pressure, solidarity work and on the ground mobilizations by African descendant and Indigenous peoples, the Ethnic Commission has helped shape what peace will look like in their territories for the mostly Black and Indigenous survivors of violence, most of whom are women.

At CRLN, we will continue working in coalition with national and international allies until true peace is achieved in Colombia. We will continue monitoring the situation as the accords move through a plebiscite vote by the Colombian people. We’ll continue following the lead of our partners in Colombia’s Ethnic Commission, who will be monitoring the implementation of the Accords, ensuring that the Colombian state integrate the Ethnic Commission’s recommendations for peace in their communities.

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