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Find here the latest news reports from the peace process, straight from Havana, Cuba. Permanently updated. 
Friday, 14 April 2017 00:00

What is the National Peace Congress initiative?

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Colombian Senator Iván Cepeda announced earlier this week that the next National Peace Congress will coordinate efforts and design strategies to support the implementation of agreements between the Executive and the FARC-EP, as well as dialogues with the ELN.

Scheduled for the end of April, it will run at regional level in many territories of the country and in Bogotá it will see the participation of organizations and sectors that defend the political way to the internal war, as well as academics, parties and presidential candidates, explained the senador in statements to Prensa Latina .

The idea, he added, is to discuss essential issues such as the necessary support for the implementation of everything agreed with the FARC-EP and actions aimed at supporting talks with the other guerrilla organization, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

According to Cepeda, participants will also demand guarantees for activities and life of social leaders and will examine the political context envisaged for 2018 when a new government will be elected and the continuity of the peace process will be essential.

That is why, he said, we have invited aspirants to the Presidency of the Republic, because the intention is to have them committed to preserve both the peace process with the FARC-EP and the one initiated in February with the ELN, whose talks are taking place in Quito, Ecuador. In essence, the Congress was conceived as an initiative seeking to coordinate efforts and design strategies in all these fields, insisted Senator Cepeda.

Last November 24, President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP leader, Timoleón Jiménez, signed the definitive agreement with which they pledged to end the fighting and hostilities.

This document included among its measures the call of a bilateral ceasefire, as well as the disarmament of the guerrilla concentrated in 26 sites of the nation. It also provides for mechanisms to progressively replace coca cultivation with other cultivation decided together with the communities and provisions aimed at transforming the countryside through comprehensive rural reform.

The Agreement reached after four years of talks includes a comprehensive system for establishing the truth after so many years of war, bringing to justice those responsible, repairing the damage done to the victims and ensuring non-repetition.

Peace is much more than an agreement; its implementation is crucial, said Cepeda, who again warned about the manoeuvres orchestrated by right-wing groups to stop or sabotage the current phase called post-conflict.

“We must appeal to social mobilization in order to preserve what has been achieved to stop this war” said the parliamentarian and prominent human rights defender.

In search of what politicians and analysts have called a complete peace, a similar agreement with the ELN remains to be reached. The ELN is less numerous than the FARC-EP but has been an active force for half a century.

Unique in the continent, the internal war has left about 300 thousand dead, almost seven million displaced from their places of origin and at least 60 thousand disappeared.