Peace talks between Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, and the government resumed on Wednesday with victims of the armed conflict at the forefront of discussions.
In this round of peace talks, the FARC and the Colombian government will discuss reparations for victims with an exchange of proposals from both parties, Colombia’s W Radio reported on Friday.
Last Saturday, the two delegations held a long meeting with the first group of 12 victims. Among those were five victims of the FARC, four victims of the government, two paramilitary victims, and one from other various armed groups.
The issue now at hand is how to address and compensate the 6.5 million victims of Colombia’s 50-year armed conflict.
This round of peace talks provided the first opportunity for victims to meet face-to-face with their victimizers, be it the FARC or the State.
During a break in negotiations on Saturday, lead FARC negotiator Ivan Marquez personally approached one victim whose family was massacred at the hands of the guerrilla group.
“Marquez approached me with an air of sincerity and asked my forgiveness. It wasn’t a mechanical apology, it was an apology from the heart,” said Constanza Turbay, whose family was killed in 2000.
Saturday’s delegation was the first of five group of victims that will join the reparations discussions. In all, 60 victims of the FARC, State, and paramilitaries will participate in the negotiations.