Oxfam celebrates final peace agreement between Colombian government and FARC guerrilla group
After four years of peace talks, the Colombian government and FARC-EP guerrilla group (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces – People´s Army, in Spanish) have signed the final agreement in Havana, Cuba. This agreement puts an end to FARC as a guerrilla group and opens up the possibility for the definite end of more than 50 years of internal conflict.
This is without doubt an historical moment for Colombia and for all of Latin America: one very relevant step closer to peace. Oxfam celebrates this agreement as an organization that works to end extreme inequality and to defend human rights.
Many actors have contributed to this achievement. The role of women´s organizations in the peace process through the Sub-Commission for Gender, as well as the participation of other sectors of Colombian civil society, have been essential for the final agreement.
Also, the participation of Cuba, Chile, Venezuela and Norway as guarantor countries and mediators has been fundamental. In key moments, the peace process was also accompanied by CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) member countries and by the international community in general.
Now, the support of civil society will be essential to endorse the agreement: in the next few days Colombians will be asked to vote in a national referendum to express whether or not they support the agreement reached in Havana. We trust that Colombians will vote to support the agreement reached between the government and the FARC, transforming peace into reality.
We know that for there to be complete peace in Colombia negotiations with the ELN - another active guerrilla group - are of utmost importance. There is also an urgent need for measures to end armed paramilitary and criminal groups that dispute power and control of territories across the country. Despite the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, severe human rights violations continue against community leaders and human rights and peace defenders across the entire country.
Oxfam has worked for 34 years in Colombia in partnership with grassroots communities, NGOs and diverse actors for a negotiated end to the armed conflict. Oxfam programs in Colombia aim to end inequality and promote human rights, in order to contribute towards peace building at the local level, especially in the regions most affected by the internal conflict.
For this reason, we celebrate that the FARC have laid down their weapons. We rejoice alongside millions of victims and Colombians living in rural areas and marginalized neighborhoods, and we will continue to work to support the implementation of the agreement.
Working towards a sustainable peace in Colombia will imply institutional and structural reforms that contribute to a long-lasting peace. We trust that the Colombian government creates policies that reduce inequality - Colombia has one of the worst rates of inequality in the region - so that the fundamental causes of armed conflict can be delegitimized forever.
Tania Escamilla in Mexico City: email@example.com