Victims of Colombia rebel group FARC have formed a national federation around 33 crucial points they hope will be heard in ongoing peace talks, as well as in the international community.
Roughly 1,500 FARC victims released a joint statement Thursday outlining fundamental demands and concerns related to the peace process, which was released to the press at a Bogota event called “Let’s take Havana.”
This consensus was the outcome of a national forum for FARC victims on October 28, held by Senator Sofia Gaviria (Liberal Party), whose brother was killed by the FARC.
“We want all of society to see the 33 points, which are based on the four principles of the peace talks: justice, truth, reparation, and non-repetition,” Senator Gaviria told the press on Thursday.
Senator Gaviria emphasized the “minimum requirements” that were agreed on in the presence of the Inspector General and the National Comptroller after multiple round tables on each theme: That where justice is concerned, FARC should serve a minimum eight year sentence, similar to the AUC disarmament deal; That truth means calling things by their real names, and FARC must recognize that it has committed neither “mistakes” nor “acts of defense,” but serious crimes; And where reparations are to be made, the FARC should use money it accumulated through years of violence, kidnapping, extortion, and drug trafficking to redress the victims.
According to the joint statement by the victims, “The presence of some FARC victims in the Havana peace process, who can only speak on behalf of themselves, does not constitute a coordinated, unified voice that enjoys legitimacy.”
“We decided, therefore, to create the National Federation of FARC Victims, bringing together all associations and organizations defending victims of FARC that exist in the country.”
Chief among the decisions outlined in Thursday’s statement are that FARC should have no agency in determining who qualifies as a victim, and that the list should include members of the armed forces who have been victims of crimes outside the law of war.
National Federation of FARC Victims Consensus
The Federation demands that FARC:
- Release children and youth who have been forcibly recruited
- Recognize that it has committed neither “mistakes” nor “acts of defense,” but serious crimes.
- Release all of its financial information, including accounts and resources gained through criminal activities such as extortion, kidnapping and drug trafficking, asking that these resources be used toward victims compensation.
- Release the whereabouts of graves, so victims can find their families
- Release maps of land mines for clearance, and maps related to their actions in the drug trade
- Recognize “the authorship of multiple massacres, rapes, assassinations, massive destruction by bombs and explosions, environmental crimes and other terrorist acts that have been committed and that have plunged the country into immense economic chaos for half a century.”
- Agree not to relapse into crime, and this commitment must be applied from the time of reading this statement
- Undergo a public act of contrition, in which FARC offenders ask forgiveness from their victims.
The Federation asks that the government:
- Keep track of FARC’s crimes and do the necessary research to gather as much information as possible about them, so that in case some of those responsible for these criminal acts continue to commit crimes once a peace deal is signed, they will be excluded from all the benefits arising out of the negotiation.
- Implement oversight committees to monitor compliance with any peace agreements
- Implement a permanent oversight by the International Criminal Court to ensure the application of justice
- Include information about the criminal acts perpetrated by the FARC in all museums and memorials
- Create a civil truth commission civil regulated by Congress.
- Not grant seats in congress to members of the FARC and, if these are granted, that they be elected by democratic means.
- Make military service voluntary, and that if this reform is not achieved, make members of the families victimized in the conflict exempt from serving.
- Develop programs towards improving and expanding the information on the rights of the victims of the FARC.
- Promote nonviolence programs at all levels of education.
- Create a special program of rehabilitation for children and adolescents who have been recruited by the armed groups.
- Create incentives for job placement and educational credits for victims, not smaller amounts as those that are granted to reintegrated offenders.
- Create a fund to cover prostheses and all the necessary elements to allow maximum mobility for victims of landmines planted by the FARC.
- Expedite procedures concerning the rights of victims of the FARC in order to close the process of politicizing humanitarian aid in the reparations process.
- Qualify personnel working with victims in the differential approach.
- Actively include women victims in post-conflict processes.