Source: AFP

Source: AFP

The Colombian Government and the FARC reached a peace agreement on October 17th, in Havana, which will end the 51-year insurgent war that has claimed the lives of over 220,000 people and displaced over 5 million people. This agreement has been negotiated since November 2012 and the final deadline is set for March 23, 2016.

The peace commitment seeks to disarm the FARC, and solve the missing people mystery. Negotiations between the government and FARC have been proven to be an arduous task since FARC members did not agree with some of the agreement’s terms, such as lower sentences in exchange for information on the whereabouts of the missing people.

Finding the people is going to be a challenge since there are more than five million people displaced and 100,000 missing. The Colombian Government has, however, already taken action. A special search unit for displaced and missing people due to the civil conflict will be created.

The process is of a two-way nature, as FARC members provide information that helps locate and identify missing people, and the Colombian Government, will in its turn, help with the identification and provide proper burials for members of the FARC guerrilla who have been killed by Colombian forces.

International support from humanitarian organizations is vital in the process of finding Colombia’s displaced and missing people. Christoph Harnisch, head of the International Committee Of The Red Cross delegation in Colombia declared, “we welcome the measures to find the people who disappeared in the last decades and we are ready to support the document’s implementation”. He added that “The humanitarian consequences are uncountable: families destroyed, psychological problems. Those are the reasons why the ICRC has as a priority to continue helping the families affected”.

Furthermore, the president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, considered that the peace agreement was something ‘‘good’’ and that, ‘‘he hopes that the process will consolidate.’’

However, not everyone agrees with this peace commitment between the Government and the FARC. National and international Colombian businessmen have delivered a document to President Santos stating that working with the FARC is not a solution to finding the location of missing people and that peace will not last.

In conclusion, these negotiations open an umbrella of opportunities to make amends and put an end to decades of killings, in order to start healing wounds.

Raquel Flores, Sarah Göbel, Hanane Houliche, Cristina Morán González, Laura Sevilla Sendarrubias


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