Second Agreement Signed Between FARC-EP and Government

12 Nov

The signing of a second agreement on the six-point agenda for peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC- EP) and the Colombian government in Havana, Cuba was announced on November 7.

In a press conference at the Havana Conference Centre, representatives of the guarantor countries for the peace talks, Rodolfo Benitez of Cuba and Dag Halvor of Norway, read the joint statement on the agreement between the parties on participation in political life.

Under the agreement, which the stakeholders described as key, a consensus was reached on rights and guarantees for the participation of political opposition in political life generally and in particular for the social sectors and new movements that will emerge after the end of the conflict. The agreement also recognizes their right to media access and establishes democratic mechanisms for the safe participation of citizens from all sectors, including the most vulnerable.

A wider range of rights and guarantees in the exercise of democracy, pluralism, participation and political culture is also established under the agreement.

The agreement also states that a national meeting of political parties and movements will be called, including the spokespersons of social movements, experts and intellectuals, to establish the statutes that govern their political participation. The intention is that at the end of the war the people’s demands for their right to protest and peacefully coexist are guaranteed, and that additional space is opened to allow social sectors and others who are currently excluded to present proposals and projects to national institutions.

A plan to support the development of a citizen oversight group and transparency observatories will be set up with the aim of ensuring the implementation of the agreement.

FARC-EP representative Iván Márquez said, “With today’s agreement we bring the Colombian people to democracy’s door.” Colombian government representative Humberto de la Calle said that “the agreements reached today with the insurgents on their participation in political life after the end of the armed conflict constitutes a new opening for democracy.” Following the announcement, the agreement was welcomed by the Cuban government, the UN coordinator in Colombia, and the Colombians for Peace Movement founded by former Senator Piedad Córdoba.

Like the agreement reached in May on the development of the agricultural sector — the first item on the agenda for peace talks between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, this second agreement will come into force only after the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement and the effective end of the armed conflict. Four of the six items on the agenda for discussion at the peace talks in Havana remain.

The particular conditions for the new movement arising from the transition of FARC-EP to legal political activity will be discussed in item three of the agenda, according to the statement.

On November 18 talks will resume on the fourth point on the agenda on the illicit drug trade. The next items will be the last two points concerning compensation for victims and the effective end of the armed conflict.

November 19 marks the first anniversary of the start of the peace talks between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, being held in Havana, Cuba, under the aegis of Cuba and Norway as guarantors, accompanied by Venezuela and Chile.

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