The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace accord on Wednesday August 24, 2016. It has been lauded by the United States-based Christian Science Monitor as creating a new model for future peace negotiations around the globe. The agreement seeks to bring an end to the longest-running conflict in Latin America, which began in 1964.
The deal requires the FARC to demilitarize, and transition into a political party. The Colombian government will guarantee 10 non-voting seats to members of the soon-to-be-formed political party for two legislative terms to oversee the implementation of the peace accord, after which the new FARC party will need to compete for seats through elections. The government will also provide financial support for former militants, to give them time to develop new skill sets to support themselves in peaceful vocations. The financial package will include two years of a monthly stipend at close to the minimum wage, and eligibility for $2,500 to start a business.
The peace accord also seeks to uphold laws from the International Criminal Court, which requires that those who have committed crimes against humanity make reparations to victims, possibly through community service and other means, and serve time. Both government and FARC combatants will be given the opportunity to voluntarily confess crimes in exchange for more lenient sentences.
President Juan Manuel Santos seeks to ensure the long-term success of the peace accord by giving the Colombian people the opportunity to vote for the peace agreement on October 2, 2016.
FARC negotiator Rodrigo Granda commented on the accord, tweeting,
“There is no room for winners or losers when you achieve peace through negotiations. Colombia wins, death loses.”
Humberto de la Calle, who headed the government’s negotiation team, also expressed his support for the agreement, stating,
“The war is over, but also there is also new beginning. This agreement opens the door to a more inclusive society,”
Congratulations, Colombia, on this innovative peace accord! We give our sincere thanks to the government and FARC negotiators, as well as all others who have supported and enabled the creation of this peace deal. May the implementation go smoothly, and may it uplift the lives of all Colombians!