Colombia’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with rebel group the FARC announced on Tuesday that the issue of victims’ rights and reparations are at the center of the fourth round of negotiations.
Chief negotiator and former Vice President Humberto de la Calle said in an official press release that victims of Colombia’s 50-year armed conflict are at the center of the peace process now taking place in Havana, Cuba.
“We did not come to negotiate their rights, but to agree on how the government and the FARC respond to them in the best way; how to satisfy their rights to truth, justice, and reparation, and ensure that the pain and tragedy they lived through does not happen again,” said De la Calle, adding, “those are the supreme interests of the government in this chapter of dialogues.”
The Colombian government and the FARC have already agreed upon three out of six points on the peace agenda. These include issues of agricultural development that are aimed at improving the quality of life for millions of farmers, agreements on political participation to strengthen democracy, and settlements on how to deal with illicit drugs.
“We have reached these agreements, not for the FARC, but by and for all Colombians. We are convinced that these points represent the transformations necessary, so that the conflict never be repeated,” said De la Calle.
Both the Colombian government and the FARC will have to make considerable concessions in this round of peace talks as both parties are equally guilty of human rights abuses.
The government has already been under scrutiny for years over the issue of “false positives,” which is basically state-sponsored killing, while the FARC have also terrorized the population through kidnappings, landmines, and guerrilla warfare.
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“What the country expects from us is to arrive at an early agreement that allows an end to the conflict, leaving behind this past of pain and blood, so that there are no more victims,” said De la Calle, adding, “that’s why we’re here, and we will continue to work hard to end the conflict and ensure a better future for Colombia.”
- Declaracion de Humberto de la Calle (Official Press Release)