Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, have agreed upon how victims of the armed conflict will be participating during the peace talks in Havana, Cuba.
In a joint statement, both parties have agreed to the direct participation of victims of Colombia’s 50-year civil war in the ongoing peace talks.
The Colombian government and the FARC recognized that the voices of the victims will have a “fundamental input” at the negotiating table and have laid out the criteria and mechanisms on how victims’ issues will be handled.
Through three rounds of regional forums and one national forum taking place throughout Colombia, victims are being chosen by delegates from the United Nations (UN) and the National University to participate in the Havana peace talks in August.
According to the joint statement, those selected from the forums must be direct victims of the conflict who reflect the entire spectrum of human rights violations, taking into account different regional and social structures.
Although it is not stated how much sway or power the victims will have over the final outcome of negotiations, the delegates “will have complete autonomy to state their views.”
There will be at least five separate delegations of up to 12 victims per delegation to coincide with at least five rounds of discussions beginning August 16 when victims will arrive in Cuba to meet their perpetrators face to face for the first time.
Peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government have been ongoing since November 2012. So far, both parties have come to agreements on the topics of agrarian land reform, political participation, and illicit drugs.
- Comunicado conjunto #39 (Office of the Presidency)