International Alert welcomes the announcement of a bilateral ceasefire agreement by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The historic ceasefire marks the end of a conflict that has lasted for over 50 years, claimed over 220,000 lives and displaced over 5 million people. It is a crucial step towards the signing of a much-awaited peace agreement in Colombia.
The agreement was formally marked in a ceremony on Thursday 23 June in Havana, where negotiations have been running since 2012.
Yadaira Orsini, Head of Economic Development for Peace who leads Alert’s work in Colombia, said:
“As a Colombian, I didn’t think that I would ever see this day as I grew up in the midst of this conflict that has been raging on for 50 years.
For generations, Colombians have known nothing but conflict, but we now have an unprecedented opportunity to build a peaceful future for ourselves. It won’t be easy, but we owe it to the next generations, and to the hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives in this war.”
Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert, said:
“The ceasefire is a major step in the path to peace in Colombia.
The challenge now is to ensure that both parties are willing and able to fulfil their commitments. The country also needs long-term peacebuilding strategies that foster links between peace and the economy, ensure disarmament and support reconciliation efforts to build a new Colombia after 50 years of war.”
International Alert has been working in Colombia since 1999, and 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 the country.
Photo © International Alert/ Mónica Echeverría Burbano