Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos called on Congress Wednesday to approve draft legislation intended to prevent the return of 25,000 demobilized ex-combatants to illegal armed groups, newspaper El Espectador reported.
According to Santos, the demobilized fighters could be recruited back into illegal armed groups if the process of reintegration does not begin. The draft legislation lays the legal groundwork for the transition.
“The legislative act that was discussed yesterday in the House of Representatives and that seeks to give a constitutional framework to the transitional justice and aims to give legal ground to the completion of the justice and peace process that began under President Uribe, is an essential step if we want this process to be a success,” Santos said.
“The alternative to this draft legislation is that we could see more than 25,000 people reinstated, recruited again by criminal groups and guerrillas,” he added.
The president declared that illegal armed groups are already beginning to recruit demobilized fighters by telling them that the government is not going to keep its promises.
Nearly 10,000 demobilized individuals have been reintegrated into society and hold normal jobs, Santos said, but that progress will be jeopardized if “this project does not happen.”
“It is a project of great importance to national security,” the president said.