International Alert today welcomed the signing of a historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, Cuba, concluding four years of negotiations.
A plebiscite, where Colombians will decide whether or not they will approve the agreement, will be held on 2 October 2016.
International Alert, which has been working in Colombia since 1999, called for all parties to uphold the agreement and to support efforts to build lasting peace in the country, involving. It also called for other countries to follow the example of Colombia in resolving protracted conflicts.
Yadaira Orsini, who leads Alert's work in Colombia, as well as its Economic Development for Peace Programme, said:
“We are delighted with the signing of this agreement, which ends the last major armed conflict in the American continent. The challenge now is to ensure that both parties are willing and able to fulfil their commitments, and to ensure that all Colombians are behind the process. The country also needs long-term peacebuilding strategies that foster links between peace and the economy, and support disarmament and reconciliation efforts to build a new Colombia.
“The agreement can also serve as inspiration for the Colombian government to continue talks with another party in the conflict, the National Liberation Army [ELN], to ensure a complete peace in the country.”
The historic peace deal marks the end of the world’s oldest armed conflict - one that has lasted for over 50 years, claimed over 220,000 lives and displaced over five million people.
Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert said:
“While armed confrontations and violence in the world are increasing, we can all be inspired by the example of Colombia in using negotiation, dialogue and persistence to resolve conflicts, and demonstrating the power of words over war.”
International Alert will continue to support the efforts of its partners, including civil society, government and the private sector, in building a more peaceful and prosperous future for Colombia.
- Find out more about Alert's work in Colombia and watch a video on the perceptions of the peace process.
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Photo © International Alert/ Mónica Echeverría Burbano