Colombia

After 50 years of armed conflict, a peace accord between Colombia’s government and the country’s oldest rebel group is on the horizon. An end to the war would still leave Colombia with the massive task of reconciliation, considering more than 220,000 people have died and more than 6 million have been uprooted. The U.S. Institute of Peace has helped prepare the ground for a political solution with its decade of work in Colombia. Research and policy discussions stimulate fresh thinking on the conflict and on potential solutions, while grants and technical support build local capacity for mediation and conflict resolution. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on the Current Situation in Colombia.

Colombia: Human Rights Defenders Building Sustainable Peace

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 14:00
Thu, 02/18/2016 - 15:30

Despite widespread optimism that a peace agreement will soon be reached in Havana, the war in Colombia continues, marked by a rise in attacks on human rights defenders. The U.S. Institute of Peace and its co-sponsors held an event to hear four winners of last year’s National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia discuss the challenges they and their fellow advocates face in their regions, and the role of human rights defenders in building sustainable peace in Colombia.

For the past four years, international humanitarian agencies working in Colombia have sponsored this competitive national prize to acknowledge the courageous work of individuals and of local and regional organizations that work to protect and promote human rights in the country. Four of last year’s five recipients were on hand for the discussion, courtesy of the Swedish humanitarian agency Diakonia, which has sponsored their visit to the U.S.

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Colombia’s Peace Process and Transitional Justice

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 08:30
Wed, 09/30/2015 - 17:00
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Basta Ya! Report Illuminates Issues at Crux of Colombia’s Peace Talks Breakthrough

Colombia’s government and the FARC movement achieved their September 23 breakthrough in peace negotiations by setting down basic principles on the rights of victims to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition. USIP’s  Colombia Peace Forum, on September 30,  analyzed the role of historical memory in these transitional justice issues.

Read the event coverage, Colombia Considers War and Memory

As policymakers and analysts consider how the new breakthrough might be consolidated, Colombian researchers  presented a report, central to these issues, to a U.S. audience for the first time. The report—Basta Ya! Colombia: Memories of War and Dignity—was produced by Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory. Its authors  joined other scholars and practitioners to examine lessons that might contribute to the creation of the national truth commission and other architectures as part of the peace process.

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The Colombian Peace Process, a discussion with Luis Eduardo Celis

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:00
Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:30

This Colombia Peace Forum event will feature Luis Eduardo Celis Méndez, a Colombia journalist with several years of experience following the internal armed conflict and peacebuilding in Colombia. 

The event is webcast only.

Prospects for peace in Colombia are looking better than they have in years. If successful, the current peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) begun in late 2012 and in its 27th round in Havana, Cuba, would put an end to a 50 year-long internal armed conflict that has taken the lives of some 220,000 Colombians, forcibly displaced 6 million more, and destroyed countless livelihoods. Exploratory talks with a second insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), are in an exploratory phase.

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The Peace Process in Colombia

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 10:00
Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:30
Subtitle: 
Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for the Protection of Human Rights

The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a forum on human rights in Colombia. This session was held in coordination with the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and Peace Brigades International.

This event is part of a series of conversations known as the Colombia Peace Forum (CFP). The CPF, established following the launch of Colombia's peace process, brings together government, non-governmental, and diplomatic sectors to discuss themes related to peace and the internal armed conflict in Colombia, as well as related U.S. foreign policy issues.

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Colombia Peace Forum: Pending Issues on the Peace Agenda

Mon, 09/23/2013 - 13:00
Tue, 09/24/2013 - 16:30

Former and current USIP peace scholars, senior fellows, grantees, and affiliated experts working on Colombia discuss their research in the context of the agenda of the ongoing peace talks in Colombia.

Day 1:

  • Ending the Conflict: Armed Actors, Disarmament, Demobilization, and  Reintegration
  • Drugs, Violence, and the Agenda for Peace

Day 2:

  • From Victims to Citizens:  Memory, Justice, Human Rights, and Internal Displacement
  • Beyond the Peace Accords: Strengthening Infrastructures for Peace
  • Looking to the Future: Lessons For and From Peacebuilding in Colombia

The full agenda provides more detail.

In early September, peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) that began last October entered their 14th cycle in Havana, Cuba. The parties reached an agreement on rural agrarian development--the first item of an agreed agenda for the talks--in May. Discussions about political participation are now underway.

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Colombian Women Mediators Prepare to Support Peace

This 30-minute documentary highlights their work, supported by USIP in collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, and explores their strategies for helping prevent and mediate disputes in their communities. In a post-accord period, they will put their skills to the service of preventing and mediating conflicts, especially those between ex-combatants and victims, ethnic groups, within civil society, between citizens and the government, and between citizens and corporations.

Colombia’s Peace Accord on the Missing

Forced disappearances are a legacy of Colombia’s half-century of internal armed conflict. They have affected the rural and urban poor, labor and peasant organizers, journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous leaders. Likewise, in the context of Colombia’s war, members of the military and guerrillas have also gone missing. This brief examines an agreement on the missing reached in October 2015 between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces. If well implemented, the agreement offers the chance to alleviate suffering and provide answers to families of the missing and to Colombian society at large.

Summary

  • A new accord on the missing made between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP) in October 2015 commits the parties to a series of confidence-building humanitarian measures and institutional changes to alleviate the suffering of the families of those who disappeared in the context of Colombia’s internal armed conflict.
  • Interactions between family members of the missing, civil society, and the state helped shape the accord and have opened opportunities for collaboration in its implementation.
Virginia M. Bouvier and Lisa Haugaard
Mon, 07/25/2016 - 12:35
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Q&A: Colombia Cease-Fire Accord Marks Historic Turn

More than a half-century of internal warfare in Colombia is on the brink of a peaceful resolution after four years of talks that suggest how other seemingly intractable conflicts in the world also might be brought to an end. With the announcement yesterday of a ceasefire between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), the adversaries in one of the world’s oldest guerilla insurgencies disclosed new agreements on the two major issues that were holding up a final accord — disarmament and demobilization of the rebels’ estimated 8,000 fighters.

Fred Strasser

Top leaders from around the world—United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the General Assembly, seven presidents, foreign ministers, and the U.S. and European special envoys—joined President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londono, the head of the FARC-EP, to celebrate signing the deal in Havana, where talks have been underway since late 2012.

“For the world, Colombia is an emblematic case that demonstrates that political solutions can be found.” – Virginia “Ginny” Bouvier, U.S. Institute of Peace

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 13:01
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Colombia’s Disappeared: Assessing the Search for Truth

Due to the sustained advocacy of victims, resolving the open wound of disappearances became critical to peacemaking efforts between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) during their negotiations in Havana. On Oct. 17, they reached an agreement on disappearances, with each side making a range of commitments such as providing information on those who vanished and searching for their remains.

Steve Hege

Steve
Hege
Senior Program Officer

Please submit all media inquiries to interviews@usip.org or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Steve Hege has over 15 years of experience working with the United Nations, international NGOs, think tanks and governments on issues related to security sector reform, DDR, local governance, human rights, political dialogue and natural resource management. He currently manages several security and justice reform programs for USIP in Myanmar/Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Colombia.

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Articles & Analysis

As negotiators for the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group iron out the final details of a potential peace accord, USIP is working with a network of 30 women mediators from a dozen...

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More than a half-century of internal warfare in Colombia is on the brink of a peaceful resolution after four years of talks that suggest how other seemingly intractable conflicts in the world also...

By:
Fred Strasser

The tragedy of the “disappeared” in Colombia’s more than half-century of internal war cuts across the entire society. Among those who were forcibly seized and then vanished without further...

By:
Virginia M. Bouvier and Lisa Haugaard

Videos & Webcasts

While Colombia’s government and the guerrilla group known as the FARC work on the final details of a comprehensive peace deal, one part of the proposed accord is already in effect: the commitment...

Women have played groundbreaking roles in Colombia’s peace process between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC. With a peace agreement in sight and on the occasion of...

Despite widespread optimism that a peace agreement will soon be reached in Havana, the war in Colombia continues, marked by a rise in attacks on human rights defenders. The U.S. Institute of Peace...

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Online Courses

Jeffrey Helsing

This dynamic course is a case-based introduction to the process of conflict analysis. Good conflict analysis is the foundation of any conflict management process, from prevention to mediation to reconciliation.

A nuanced understanding of the context and dynamics of a conflict can determine the effectiveness with which you intervene in a conflict, prevent further harm from being done, help determine priori

Publications

Forced disappearances are a legacy of Colombia’s half-century of internal armed conflict. They have affected the rural and urban poor, labor and peasant organizers, journalists, human rights...
By:
USIP Staff
After 50 years of armed conflict, a peace accord between Colombia’s government and the country’s oldest rebel group is on the horizon. Talks in Havana that President Juan Manuel Santos began with the...