AMERICA/COLOMBIA – Resumption of peace talks in a climate of hope, also with the support of OHCHR

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AMERICA/COLOMBIA – Resumption peace talks in a spirit of hope, with the support from OHCHR

Bogota (Agenzia Fides). – “In my meeting avec President Gustavo Petro I welcomed his new ‘total peaceful’ policy, which includes the commitment to fully implement 2016 peace agreement with FARC-EP. I also appreciate the resumption in talks with the National Liberation Army. My office’s expertise can be used to advise and support the government on human rights issues, including those affecting victims. These are the words of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Volker Türk, delivered yesterday evening at a press conference at the conclusion of his two-day official visit to Colombia, during which he signed a new agreement for his office’s presence in Colombia until 2032.
Touching on the nation’s various problems regarding human rights issues, Türk cited the violence of armed groups that communities experience on a daily basis: displacement, imprisonment, gender and sexual violence, massacres… “We must all support efforts to end this situation,” the High Commissioner said, recalling how important it is for Colombian authorities to ensure that negotiations take human rights fully into account from the outset.
Turk rallied the voices of civil society and urged them to pay particular attention to victims, communities, and ensure their participation in the talks. Turk said, “We fully support the current negotiation, we know that they are difficult, and nothing is easy for peace, unfortunately it’s much easier to make warfare”,
The High Commissioner stressed that “During my meetings, the hope of civil society reps – one described the feeling when you see blue skies after a storm – but they also pointed at Colombia’s deep inequality, especially in rural areas. They explained why peace with the armed groups is not enough and why rural development and implementation of the 2016 accord are so important.”

After an interruption of peace negotiations between representatives of Colombia’s government and those from the National Liberation Army, (ELN), peace negotiations were resumed in November 2022. This was after a period of time that had been ongoing since 2018, when Ivan Duque, Colombia’s current president, decided to end the interruption. This was the first phase, which took place in Caracas. Venezuela is one the guarantors of the agreements (see Fides; 21/11/2022; 28/11/2022 and 12/12/2022).
The second round of negotiations is set to begin in Mexico on February 13. Meanwhile, an extraordinary meeting of government and Eln representatives was held in Caracas, from January 17 to 21, which took place “in an atmosphere of sincere and constructive dialogue, in an atmosphere of seeking understanding”, according to Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao Gaviria, who represents the Bishops’ Conference at the talks. “Let’s start with an atmosphere of hope,” said he, adding that it was a place of confidence that progress can also be made in the quest to end the suffering of many people due to the clashes.
Representatives from the guarantor nations (Cuba, Chile Mexico, Norway, Venezuela) and the associated institutions of peace negotiations (Colombian Episcopal Conference, UN General Secretariat), highlighted with hope the government’s commitment to “to strengthen the dialog table and their repeated will for peace, expressed at this extraordinary meeting”. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 26/1/2023)



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