Colombia’s armed conflict has reached historic lows of violence, according to an NGO which has been measuring attempts by the government and FARC rebels to deescalate violence during peace talks.
The Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC) stated in its most recent weekly report that the FARC, whose leadership ordered a unilateral ceasefire in July, reduced its attacks to levels not seen in 40 years.
In reciprocity, the national security forces have reduced their offensives against the guerrilla group to their lowest levels in the 51-year-long history of the conflict.
As a result, deaths and injuries associated with the violence of the conflict have had a drastic reduction of more than 50% for both warring parties.
Conflict reduction and the peace talks
The FARC and the Government reached agreements on mutual de-escalation three months ago in order to prevent conflict violence that could undo progress made at the talks. Without the deescalation attempts, the peace talks in Havana would not have had the same successes, stated CERAC.
“The deescalation generated and will maintain a favorable environment for the advance of the negotiations in Havana. It is safe to say that such advances wouldn’t have taken place without the reduction of the conflict,” stated the report.
Therefore, what happens at the negotiation table will directly affect the progress of de-intensification of the conflict, according to the analysts.
Additional de-escalation agreements like a bilateral ceasefire are “fundamental to neutralize risks that could lead to another crisis in the negotiation,” CERAC claimed.
War not over yet
Although violence reached historic lows, a minimal number of combat situations continue, reaching a total of 10 violent confrontations between the security forces and the guerrilla group in these past 13 weeks, according to CERAC’s data.
The total monthly deaths averaged at 30 persons since July, in comparison with the monthly average of 169 victims in 1975.
The Colombian State and the FARC have been locked in an internal armed conflict since 1964, leaving 260,000 Colombians dead and over six million displaced. The warring parties have been negotiating a peace deal in Havana, Cuba since November 2012.
The final peace deal will be signed by 23 March 2016, according to both sides.