Error message

As the Colombian peace talks resume in Havana, the discussion is now turning to victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition.

Read the event analysis, Colombia’s War Survivors Appeal for U.S. Support, Responsibility

Pictured left to right, Virginia Bouvier (USIP), Lisa Haugaard (LAWGEF), Gimena Sanchez (WOLA), Luis Fernando Arias (ONIC), and José Antequera Guzmán (Hijos e Hijas).

logosIn June, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) issued a ground-breaking declaration of principles on victims, the item currently under discussion at the peace talks in Havana. They announced that they were inviting a delegation of victims to participate in the peace talks, and requested that the United Nations and the National University convene a series of forums for victims to present their proposals for satisfying their rights to truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition. Three regional victims’ forums have now taken place and a national forum is scheduled in Cali in early August.

Recently, the parties announced new guidelines for multiple delegations of victims to participate in the peace talks. They invited the UN and the National University, along with the Bishops Conference of Colombia, to provide assistance in organizing the victims’ engagement. The first delegation is due in Havana on August 16th.

Last month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Colombia and met with victims of the conflict. He urged greater attention to human rights protections as the peace process progresses. What role can the U.S. play, both politically and financially, in facilitating an end to the conflict? What recommendations do victims' groups have for the U.S. as it prepares to support a post-war Colombia?

This event was the next in USIP's Colombia Peace Forum Series, will be co-sponsored with the Washington Office on Latin America and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, and will discuss victims' rights and proposals from four victims of different groups, including guerrillas, paramilitaries, and the State. A half a century of internal armed conflict has resulted in more than 6.5 million victims officially registered with the Colombian government's Victims' Unit. It was an opportunity to hear diverse perspectives and peace proposals from leaders who are survivors of violence.

Join the conversation on Twitter with #ColombiaPeaceForum.


  • Luis Fernando Arias
    Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC)
  • José Antequera Guzmán
    Co-Founder, Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity

Both Spanish and English videos are posted below. Biographies for the speakers can be found on WOLA's website.

The video shown at the beginning of the event is No Hubo Tiempo para la Tristeza/ There Was No Time for Sadness. The film clip is being used courtesy of the Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica (Spanish with English subtitles).  To view the full film, please visit their website.

Para la invitación en español haga clic aquí.

Interviews with Luis Fernando Arias, José Antequera Guzmán, and the event video archives are below:

Related Publications

Women and Peace: A Special Role in Violent Conflict

Women and Peace: A Special Role in Violent Conflict

Friday, March 18, 2016

By: Fred Strasser

In Liberia, women, excluded from talks to end the country’s civil war, besieged negotiators until they signed a deal. In Guatemala, where insurgents and the government each had a female delegate in talks, pressure from women put indigenous, gender and labor rights into an accord. In Northern Ireland, women placed the needs of victims and political prisoners on the agenda after winning a role in peace negotiations. Wherever there’s an effort to settle violent conflict, women’s involvement impr...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Gender; Peace Processes

 Colombia Considers War and Memory

Colombia Considers War and Memory

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

By: Fred Strasser

A breakthrough in peace talks last month between Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest guerrilla group cements the role of victims in the process and has been hailed as a possible model for resolving conflicts elsewhere. Yet after 50 years of violence, a political accord on how to deal with the millions victimized by the war is just the first step. Hardened, bitter memories will risk rekindling conflict. Colombian peacebuilders say the way forward depends on an effective justice sys...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Reconciliation; Peace Processes

Reconciliation as the Road to Durable Peace

Reconciliation as the Road to Durable Peace

Thursday, September 24, 2015

By: Fred Strasser

Apology. Confession. Truth-telling. Forgiveness. These are elements of reconciliation, perhaps the most important underpinning for turning a violent conflict into durable peace. Yet building peace is complicated by a reality that human cultures have no agreed definition of reconciliation. Indeed many may resist it as an imposed Western value, USIP scholars said.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Religion; Reconciliation

View All Publications