Jun 2016

The Colombian Government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have announced a historic ceasefire agreement.

This agreement effectively puts an end to the last major internal armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, which has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions during the past half a century.

The formal announcement will be made in Havana on Thursday 23 June, which is where the peace talks have been taking place.

Kristian Herbolzheimer, Colombia Programme Director at Conciliation Resources is an expert on the Colombia peace process, having advised both sides at points during the talks. He comments:

The ceasefire agreement in Colombia puts a formal end to more than 50 years of war. This is a huge achievement for Colombia, but also internationally. The presence at the signing ceremony tomorrow of Presidents and Foreign Ministers signals the positive effect this agreement will have in easing tensions in the Americas. At a time of increased violence and unprecedented global humanitarian crisis, Colombia brings hope to the world. There is a peaceful solution to armed conflict no matter how protracted.

As well as Colombian President Santos and commander of the FARC-EP, Timoleon Jimenez, the ceremony will be attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and a number of presidents from the Americas and elsewhere. These include the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
 
The final peace deal is anticipated to be signed as early as 20 July. Though this will still be only part of the process, as implemetation of any peace agreement is notoriously challenging.

These talks are the third major attempt in five decades to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict. The success in this current round of talks is due to a number of factors, not least the lessons the parties have learned from their own past failures and other peace processes. This has led to the development of innovative frameworks and approaches supporting the peace proces.

These innovations have been documented in a report produced by Conciliation Resources and NOREF which will launch online next week.

Notes:

Kristian Herbolzheimer is available for comment. He has more than 15 years experience working for peace in Colombia. In 2015 he advised the Government of Colombia and FARC on the negotiations related to ceasefire and demobilisation, and the monitoring role of civil society. Kristian has wide expertise in mediation support and agreement implementation in other contexts, notably the Philippines. He has researched and published widely on topics such as conflict termination, public participation in peace processes, and women's empowerment. Since 2009 he has been the director of the Colombia and Philippines programmes at peacebuilding NGO, Conciliation Resources. 

 

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