Some 500 victims of Colombia’s armed conflict took part in the first regional victims’ forum on ongoing peace talks with the FARC.
The first of four victim forums took place in Villavicencio, the capital of the central Meta state which has been one of the hardest hit in the 50 years of fighting between FARC rebels, paramilitary groups and state forces.
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At the forum, victims of the FARC were asked to express their needs regarding victims reparation and justice, and to hear proposals on how victims think a peace deal would be most beneficial for the millions of victims of the conflict.
The victims were mainly from the center and southeast of the country where the FARC traditionally controlled vast territories.
The forum was presided by UN coordinator Fabrizio Hochschild, Meta Governor Alan Jara and Alejo Vargas, the director of the Center for Thought and Monitoring of the Peace Process.
The organizers thanked the victims for attending in spite of the horrific crimes committed against them or their families, like homicide, forced disappearance, massacres and sexual violence.
The victims were given the possibility to attend special tables focused on recognition, reparation, granting of victims’ rights, truth, and no repetition.
Unfortunately for the forum organizers, the meeting coincided with the quarter finals of the World Cup in which Colombia faced host Brazil.
The soccer fever — clearly visible because a large number of victims attended the forum wearing the national jersey — could not be ignored by the United Nations and the National university, the organizers of the forum.
In order to allow the victims to watch the most important match in the history of Colombian soccer, the UN had arranged that victims would be allowed to watch soccer at the convention center.