For the second consecutive year, Colombia will host a panel of experts from twenty countries to discuss strategies for demobilizing former guerrilla combatants.
Forty -seven technocrats will come from a wide range of nations, including Angola, Rwanda, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, India, Canada, Belgium, Italy and France. The visit is sponsored by Colombia’s high commission for re-integration, which co-ordinates the demobilization of paramilitary and guerrilla groups.
The experts will tour several community co-ops in Colombia’s coffee zone and Valle del Cauca, in order to observe how Colombia’s re-integration programs are functioning on the ground.
According to the commission’s high counselor, Frank Pearl, Colombia’s peace process is unique, and one of the most ambitious in the world.
“Nevertheless, in order for the country to continue with peace building, Colombia must be open to other experiences,” he said in a statement. He cited Brazil’s intervention in favelas and the Philliphines’ investment in social programs as models for Colombia.
Pearl has said that on average it takes five years to reintegrate former guerrillas or paramilitaries back into society. Under Colombia’s Justice and Peace Law, ex-combatants are offered reduced prison sentences and entry into literacy and job training programs in return for full confessions.