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Joint communique 37 - Declaration of principles for the discussion of 5th item of the agenda: "Victims"

The National Government and the FARC-EP,

Reiterating, as stated in the Havana General Agreement that "Respect for human rights in every corner of the country is a state's purpose that must be promoted" and that, as the 5th item of the Agenda states, "the compensation of victims is at the heart of the agreement";

and, recognizing that victims of serious human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law infractions during the conflict are entitled to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition;

convinced that the satisfaction of victims' rights is an essential part of the guarantees for the achievement of peace and that the end of the conflict will strongly contribute to the satisfaction of those rights;

declare that the discussion of 5th item will be framed within the following principles:

  1. Acknowledgement of victims. It is necessary to recognize all victims of the conflict. They should be recognized not only as victims but also, and mainly, in their condition of citizens with rights.

  2. Acknowledgment of responsibility. Any discussion of this item must start with the acknowledgment of responsibility towards the victims of the conflict. We will not exchange impunities.

  3. Satisfaction of victims' rights: The rights of the victims of the conflict are not negotiable; it is a matter of agreeing on how they should be satisfied in the best way within an end-of-conflict framework.

  4. Participation of victims: The debate on the satisfaction of the rights of victims of serious human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law infractions during the conflict necessarily requires the participation of victims by various means and at different moments.

  5. Clarification of the truth: Clarifying what happened during the conflict, including its multiple causes, origins and effects, is a key part of the fulfillment of the rights of victims, and society in general. Rebuilding trust depends on full clarification and recognition of the truth.

  6. Reparation for victims: Victims are entitled to be compensated for damage suffered during the conflict. To restore the rights of victims and transform their living conditions within an end-of-conflict framework is a fundamental part of building a stable and lasting peace.

  7. Guarantees for protection and security. Protecting the life and personal integrity of the victims is the first step towards the satisfaction of other rights.

  8. Guarantee of non-repetition: The end of the conflict and the implementation of reforms arising from the Final Agreement constitute the main guarantee for non-repetition and for not allowing new generations of victims to arise. The measures adopted both for the 5th item and for the other Agenda items should be aimed at ensuring non-repetition so that no Colombian can ever become victim again or be at risk of becoming one.

  9. Principle of reconciliation: One of the objectives of the satisfaction of victims' rights is the reconciliation of all Colombian citizens in order to transit roads of civility and conviviality.

  10. Rights perspective: Any agreement we reach on the items of the Agenda and in particular the 5th item "Victims" should contribute to the protection and guarantee of the effective enjoyment of the rights of all. Human rights are inherent to all human beings in an equal way, which means they belong to them just because of being one. Therefore, their recognition is not a concession, they are universal, indivisible and interdependent and must be considered in a global, just and equitable way. Consequently, the state has the duty to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and it is every citizen's duty not to violate the human rights of their fellow citizens. The infringements of economic, social and cultural rights that might have occurred within the framework of the conflict shall be taken into account for purposes of compensation, considering the principles of universality, equality and progressiveness.

Furthermore, we report that:

  1. We agreed to create a technical subcommittee, composed of members of the two delegations, in order to initiate discussions on the 3rd item of the Agenda of the General Agreement, "End of Conflict".

  2. During the next round we will initiate discussions on the 5th item of the Agenda of the General Agreement, "Victims", for which we agreed that:
    a. In order to guide and contribute to the discussion of the 5
    th item, the parties decided to create a historical commission of the conflict and its victims comprised of experts. The commission doesn’t replace the mechanism for the full establishment of the truth that must involve all people and in particular victims.
    b. We requested the Office of the United Nations in Colombia and the Ideas for Peace Center of the National University to organize the forums on the 5
    th item of the Agenda of the General Agreement, "Victims": three regional forums that begin in Villavicencio on 4 and 5 July and then in Barrancabermeja and Barranquilla, and one national forum in Cali.
    c. We will receive a first delegation of victims who will assist the parties in order to present their proposals and expectations about building peace in the territories and to the satisfaction of the victims’ rights (to truth, justice, reparation) including guarantees of non-repetition.
    This delegation will be composed in order to ensure the plural and balanced representation of the various victims and victimizing facts, without pretending to say that one delegation can represent the millions of victims of the armed conflict.
    We thank the victims and victims' organizations that have sent their proposals to the Peace Talks and those who have participated in the regional forums organized by the Peace Commissions of the Congress, and we invite them to continue participating through the established mechanisms and through the next Forums.

  3. We agreed to create a gender subcommittee, comprising members of the delegations and with the support of national and international experts, to review and ensure that the reached agreements and an eventual final agreement will have an adequate gender approach.

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