The United nations and Colombia’s largest public university have agreed to organize a series of forums in July and August during which victims can take part in ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC.
The government and rebels on Saturday announced a 10-point agenda that included victim participation.
MORE: FARC formally admits responsibility for victims of Colombia conflict
This ten-point agenda is part of a larger peace talks agenda that seeks to end 50 years of violence between FARC guerrillas and state forces.
The government and the FARC had asked the UN and the National University (NU) to organize the forums and thus allow victim participation.
“We appreciate the confidence in our organizations granted by the Negotiations Table, manifested in the request to organize three regional and one national forum regarding the issue of victims, in which the voices of those living in regions affected by the armed conflict can be heard,” the UN and the NU said in a joint press release.
The UN and the NU previously organized forums allowing citizen participation on issues like rural reform, political participation and drugs that were subsequently agreed on by the two delegations in Cuba.
The FARC and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos have been engaged in talks since November 2012. In the event of an agreement on the victims of the conflict, the two warring parties will discuss the logistical end of the conflict after which a peace accord is supposed to be signed.
The Colombian government and the smaller rebel group ELN announced to also be holding separate formal peace talks.
MORE: Colombia To Begin Peace Process With The ELN: Colombian Government
The announcements on both the ELN and victim participation in the FARC talks come in the week preceding presidential elections in which Santos, seeking reelection on Sunday, is facing fierce opposition from hard-line candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga who — supported by his political patron former President Alvaro Uribe — has been a vociferous critic of the talks.
- COMUNICADO ONU – UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA (United Nations / National University)