By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BOGOTA, Colombia — FARC rebels have accused the Colombian government of stalling the peace talks. In a statement released on Tuesday, FARC head Timoleon said that FARC was “worried that on the government side there seems to be a deliberate effort to slow down (negotiations), to complicate the progress of the agreement.”
FARC fears that the alleged stalling and the government’s emphasis on maintaining the March 23, 2016 deadline for a final agreement is a tactic to coerce the rebels to make concessions.
Negotiations for peace have been in the works in Havana, Cuba since the end of 2012. In September, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leadership signed an agreement on transitional justice.
However peace is not simple: there are a number of complexities which both the government and FARC leadership will have to contend. For example, FARC is not the only paramilitary group active in Colombia, and there is a concern among members that if they give up their arms they will be at risk of attack from other groups.
President Santos has said that the government plan was for FARC to set up communities in secured areas, both for their own protection and so they can be ruled out in the case of violence committed elsewhere. FARC has yet to agree to this.
During a visit to the Philippines early this week to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting, President Santos also announced that he would request a UN resolution to bring official monitors into the country to oversee the ceasefire once the final peace agreement is signed. He said that the resolution would be “the best way possible” to ensure the success of the peace process.
The conflict between Colombia and FARC rebels has been ongoing since 1948. If ended, it would signal the end of a civil conflict which has left at least 220,000 people dead.
For more information, please see: