Colombian Congress’ peace committees called for victims of the country’s armed conflict to be involved in a peace process with the FARC.
Liberal Party Senator Juan Fernando Cristo called for the victims to participate in negotiations with the FARC and the Colombian government that proposes to put a final end to the violence that has wracked the country since 1964, according to W radio.
According to the senator, it is imperative to “listen to the victims so that this process doesn’t turn out like the other peace failures like those of [San Vicente del] Caguan (1998-2002) or Santa Fe de Ralito (2003-2006),” when demilitarized zones gave the FARC and the AUC respectively what was essentially a free-reign to operate.
Cristo claimed it was “unthinkable in the Colombia of today that we would advance the peace process without the representation of the victims.”
Lawmakers also called for the re-appointment of a Commissioner for Peace, a position eliminated when President Juan Manuel Santos took office in August 2010. “There would be an official spokesman not only for the guerrillas but for the social conflict in this country and we consider it pertinent at this time to reactivate this important figure that will surely result in broader dialogue,” said co-chairman of the commission of peace, Joaquin Camelo.
Another subject considered of utmost importance a the meeting was an integrated agricultural law, the first item rumored to be on the agenda for the FARC and the government. President of Congress Roy Barrera said it was a “good opportunity to combat poverty as well as solve the problems of the land. This has to be on the social agenda of the government, with or without the peace talks.”
Santos announced the government had been holding “exploratory talks” with the FARC on Monday. Radio station RCN released the alleged text of the agreement made between government and rebels on Wednesday.