President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday that it is time for Colombia “to start constructing memory based on the truth” after receiving a report on the human cost of the country’s armed conflict.
The president did so at the presidential palace, where he received a report entitled “Enough! Colombia: Memories of war and dignity” from the Center for Historic Memory.
Santos stated that the report was “a first window toward the truth that we owe to the victims of this country.”
The president was however, keen to stress that a victim reparation process is already underway in Colombia.
“We are the first country in the world with a comprehensive reparation process underway, despite continuing conflict.”
“Through approximately 50 judges we have restored 13,000 hectares of stolen land, with 1,500 cases awaiting trial,” added Santos.
The president stressed the importance of the ongoing peace talks, stating that “the factor that leads to more truth, more justice and more reparation is to end the violence.”
Regarding the end of violence in Colombia, Santos called upon the UN to participate in post conflict measures. He explained that he hoped the UN’s local human rights office will actively participate in the consolidation phase after a peace agreement has been signed with the FARC.
The president explained that this is what he has told Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, who visited him last week.
In the report, the Center for Historic Memory reported that since 1985, 220 thousand Colombians have died because of the political violence that marked Colombia for decades. According to the research, more than 80% of the fatalities of the war corresponds to civilians.