Colombian peace talks must involve societies
Inclusive public participation led by Colombian society is vital in the implementation of any peace deals resulting from the current Colombian peace talks, peacebuilding NGO Conciliation Resources says.
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgency have acknowledged the importance of the participation of society in the peace process. The peace talks will focus on putting an end to armed conflict, while the issues of structural change to address the multiple layers of conflict need a broader and more participatory process in parallel to the negotiations. Conciliation Resources is encouraging social, political and economic actors to seize this window of opportunity and empower themselves to lead on a National Dialogue to assess the multiple challenges in moving from confrontation to collaboration, and draft a road map to stronger democratic institutions.
Conciliation Resources' call comes following the commencement of the second phase of peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC in Oslo.
The architecture of the peace negotiations is solid: a limited agenda, good negotiation teams and smart international support. The challenge now is to develop a parallel process that allows for broader participation, ownership and, thereby, legitimacy.
Political parties, indigenous and black communities, civil society, business and media sector all have a role to play in strengthening dialogue and democratic institutions to get rid of political violence forever. Women have to play a leading role in this effort.
Kristian Herbolzheimer, Colombia Programme Director, Conciliation Resources
What is the context of the conflict?
How can success be secured this time?
- Women’s organisations have successfully documented the gendered dimension of conflict and the real dimensions of violence against women. They are strongly advocating for their role in any future decision-making. Their analysis and advocacy is suggesting a different approach to the overall goal of eliminating all forms of violence.
- Indigenous groups have been disproportionately affected by armed conflict and have long been protesting against the violence by all involved in the conflict, including state-sponsored violence. Indigenous groups like the Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca, ACIN, have a strong community organisation that has maintained peaceful mass mobilisations throughout the years and is a source of inspiration for Colombian society at large.
- Rural communities have established ‘peace zones’ to prevent armed groups from conducting war in their territories. They often are part of innovative municipal assemblies that challenge traditional politics and become a reference for stronger and more responsive democratic institutions.
All these groups (and many others) have concrete suggestions on how to address the conflict and improve human rights and democracy.
- Read more about the work Concililation Resources does in Colombia
- 'Colombia: New hope, old challenges' by Kristian Herbolzheimer
- 'Desmitificar la mesa de negociación' on Semana.com
- Visit our Spanish website