The Colombian government’s chief peace negotiator has called on a summit of business leaders to provide employment for demobilized rebels and foster a culture of innovation in Colombia.
On Wednesday, over 200 business people gathered at the “Business for Peace” summit at the Bogota Chamber of Commerce to discuss the role of business in post-conflict Colombia.
By video link, the head of the government’s delegation in peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, told the summit that emerging from conflict would require the support of all sectors of society and that the role of employers would be critical.
“What can you do in post-conflict Colombia?” he asked. “Assist state action. This (conflict) is not a problem only for the government, here we have to engage everyone. We all have to make commitments, particularly in the field of rehabilitation.”
“This isn’t just a problem about finding jobs for the demobilized, it is much more than that. Entrepreneurs are those who come forward looking for the formulation of new policies to make government more efficient.”
In August, conflict expert Gary Leech warned that if jobs and career prospects were not available for demobilizing FARC fighters, they may join paramilitary or other criminal organizations instead.
Speaking at the closure of the summit, Vice President Angelino Garzon asked employers to engage in the peace process because they will be the ones who benefit.
“We’ll have a just, modern and progressive state when we have peace,” he said. “In war, it is easier to violate human rights and attack investment. In peace, investments will be safer and have better prospects.”
Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC have been running for almost a year. So far there has only been agreement on the issue of land reform; no agreements have yet been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict, the rights of the victims, and how to implement any potential peace agreement.
- Empresarios para la paz (El Spectador)
- Mas que empleo, se necesita innovacion: De la Calle a empresarios (El Tiempo)