Violence related to Colombia’s armed conflict has fallen to its lowest level since 1975 thanks to the current peace talks between the government and rebel group the FARC, according to a local think-tank.
During the last two months the bilateral ceasefire between the government and the FARC has reduced military offensives between the warring groups to the lowest level in the history of the conflict.
Such a low level of violence between the FARC and the state was not even reached in 1984 during the truce between the guerrilla and the government of then-president Belisario Betancur.
The report complied by CERAC and published on Monday shows “complete compliance” with the bilateral ceasefire over the past five weeks from both sides. There is not enough evidence to attribute a single act of violence to the FARC over the last month.
However, during the first four weeks of the bilateral ceasefire CERAC registered three violations of the truce on the part of the FARC. A further three possible violations are being investigated.
Contrary to this think-tank’s conclusions, the government’s opposition accused the FARC of violating the ceasefire nine times.
The army has totally reduced their military offensive against the FARC in terms of bombing the guerrilla’s encampments over the last two months. However, they have continued with military operations, disposing of 56 explosives laid by the FARC and carrying out 20 arms seizures.
Conflict-related violence in 2014
Two fights between FARC fighters and soldiers have been registered over the past month in which five guerrillas died and three more were injured. This figure shows an 80% reduction compared to the average number of these fights during all previous unilateral FARC ceasefires and a 91% reduction compared to figures collected outside of periods of ceasefire.
The number of victims of bombings and landmines has fallen substantially but still represents the largest proportion of victims of the armed conflict.
The exception to this trend in reduced violence are the acts of the ELN (National Liberation Army), Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group after the FARC. CERAC registered 20 acts of violence on their part which represents an increase of 33% compared to the monthly average.
CERAC claimed that the significant reduction in violence in Colombia opens an opportunity to consolidate the peace process. If the FARC completely abandon violence and a ceasefire is quickly established after a peace deal is signed, a return to armed conflict would be very unlikely.
Peace talks have been taking place in Havana, Cuba between the Colombian government and the FARC since November 2012 in the hope of resolving the 50-year-long armed conflict which left 260,000 Colombians dead and over 6 million displaced.