A group of Colombians led by Senator Piedad Cordoba and former President Ernesto Samper will on Tuesday launch the Commission for Humanitarian Exchange – a group dedicated to promoting a prisoner swap with guerrilla group the FARC.
The exact objectives of the group will be specified when members meet for the first time in Bogota. However, its dominant aim will be to rally support for a humanitarian exchange program, in which FARC prisoners will be freed in return for the release of hostages.
According to reports, the launch of the new group will be attended by Colombia’s presidential candidates, Congress members, civil service workers, students, and journalists, and will include a forum in which candidates will be questioned about their views on the proposed prisoner-exchange program.
Following the release of FARC hostages Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Josue Daniel Calvo, the guerrilla group announced that they would not engage in any more unilateral releases. From now on they will only participate in a “humanitarian exchange” of FARC hostages for guerrillas incarcerated in Colombia and the U.S.
The guerrilla group are currently holding 22 hostages, who they hope to swap for imprisoned FARC members.
Cordoba has been vocal in her backing for the prison exchange program, having toured Europe to garner support for the idea, but has recently been charged by the Inspector General’s Office for having alleged ties with the FARC outside of her role as a hostage negotiator.