Progress on Peace with FARC  


7 February 2017


UK Support for Peace Process with the FARC


"We are pleased to announce a further £6 million contribution to the United Nations Multi-donor Fund, bringing our total contribution this year to over £10 million. We trust that this will support the Colombian Government with preparations for the implementation of the Rapid Response Strategy for post-conflict and the Global Demining Initiative."

British Ambassador to Colombia, Dr. Peter Tibber



Background


On 24 November 2016 the Final Peace Accord was signed between the Colombian Governemnt and the FARC Guerrilla, this was then ratified by the Colombian Congress on 30 November 2016. Following this there was  a period of uncertainty as all parties waited to hear whether the Constitutional Court would approve the “fast-tracking” of the legislation related to the Peace Accord into law.


The "Fast track" was approved by the Constiutional Court after a carefully considered and lengthy process on 14 December 2016; this broadened the President’s authority to issue decree-laws relating to the implementation of the Peace Accord and a fast-track congressional procedure for the approval of the legislative agenda related to the implementation of the Accord. [1]


In accordance with the provisions in the Peace Accord, the FARC appointed six representatives to participate without the right to vote in congressional debates on draft legislation relating to the implementation.


"D-day”


"D-day” was agreed between the two parties as being 1 December 2016, this initiated the timetable for the implementation of the Peace Accord provisions in relation to the ceasefire, cessation of hostilities and the laying down of arms. According to the provisions of the Accord within 30 days of "D-Day" FARC troops were due to be in the 26 (previously 27) Transitional Zones for Normalisation and Transitory points (Zonas Veredales Transitorias de Normalización-ZVTN). However, this timetable slipped one of the reasons being that the FARC were waiting for the Amnesty Law to be passed by Congress, this finally happened on 28 December 2016 and was ratified two days later by President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon.


According to data from the High Commissioner for Peace of the Colombian Government, on 28 January 2017, throughout Colombia over 6,300 members of the FARC started to make their way  to the Transitional Zones and Transitory Points by 36 different routes in 14 departments of the country, in one of the largest logistics operations ever seen in Colombia.


However, not all of the ZVTNs have finished being constructed. There have been reports of problems with the living conditions, delievery of food, health care provision and housing amongst other things.


Surround these ZVTN are over 350 United Nations peace observers deployed from several Latin American countries. Now they are located in these zones the FARC have four months to lay down their arms and start the process of reintegration


Although over 6,000 FARC combatants have embraced the peace process, it is estimated that around 300 will not demobilise, this includes the five dissenting commanders that the FARC leaders expelled in December 2016. [2] 


Further Legislation


Congress is now considering further legislation, most importantly the Transitional Justice Chapter of the Peace Accord this is to provide for the establishment of a Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz -JEP), which includes a Truth Commission and a Missing Persons Unit. This reform was approved in its second debate in the House of Representatives (Cámara de Representantes) by 85 out of 166 votes, it will now go to the Senate. According to the Colombian Government approx. 20,000 persons will be processed by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.


The United Kingdom continues to support the Peace Process


The United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Norway reiterated their support for the construction of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia with new contributions to the United Nations Fund for Post-conflict totaling USD16.8 million.


UK Ambassador Peter Tibber Stated:


"We are pleased to announce a further £6 million contribution to the United Nations Multi-donor Fund, bringing our total contribution this year to over £10 million. We trust that this will support the Colombian Government with preparations for the implementation of the Rapid Response Strategy for post-conflict and the Global Demining Initiative."

The UN Fund


This started in February 2016 and is due to finish in January 2019.

Objectives of the UN Fund (see in full here)



References


[1] Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Colombia


[2] Around 300 fighters from Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels will not demobilize





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