Colombia will set up peace forums abroad to allow the country’s diaspora to make proposals for ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC, congress announced Friday.
“The Peace Commission has agreed that the agenda will take place in Europe. We will begin on May 11 and conclude May 23. We will go to Berlin, then London, Brussels and Barcelona…where colleagues from Congress, from international social organizations, will discuss the issue of victims of the [armed] conflict [in Colombia],” said Joaquin Camelo, president of the Peace Commission of the House of Representatives. In addition, Camelo assured Congress that the international peace forums will be financed by international NGOs.
The purpose of the forums will be to allow the over seven million Colombians abroad – who have been exiled, displaced or have simply chosen to emigrate – to have their voice heard in the ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba. Through the forums, the same opportunity to contribute to the peace talks extended to Colombians within the country will be extended to those abroad.
Colombian expatriates in the U.S., Ecuador and Venezuela will also get the chance to be heard through similar forums scheduled for July and August
Consultation with civil society in relation to the peace talks has been ongoing in Colombia. Just recently a forum on FARC’s political participation concluded, resulting in 400 proposals that were forwarded to the negotiation table in Havana, Cuba.
FARC negotiators and the Colombian government are currently involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, to reach an end to nearly half a decade of armed conflict. The warring parties are yet to reach an agreement on comprehensive agrarian reform, the first and perhaps most controversial issue on the agenda.
- Mesas de Paz del Congreso iniciarán este mes gira por Europa (Caracol Radio)