Established with the peace talks in 2012, the USIP-based Colombia Peace Forum produces creative analysis of Colombia's internal armed conflict and peace initiatives that informs the thinking of policymakers and opinion leaders in the United States and Colombia. The forum convenes academics, Colombia specialists, government officials and others to provide a platform where a variety of voices, including historically marginalized groups such as human rights defenders, women, youth and ethnic minorities can be heard.
Addressing Sexual Violence Through Peace Processes: A View from Colombia [July 17, 2018]
Sexual violence is a crime against humanity and is commonly used as a systematic weapon of war against women and men. A recent survey on the prevalence of sexual violence against women in the armed conflict in Colombia, supported by Oxfam, provides quantitative information for the period 2010-2015. An analysis of its findings is crucial to understand how to address the problem in the context of transitional justice as part of a peace process. Colombian women who conducted the survey and are from organizations that are part of the "Rape and Other Violence: Take My Body Out from War" campaign shared their personal stories and focused on the inclusion of provisions addressing sexual violence in the Colombian government-FARC peace agreement and the challenges of implementation.
Elections & Peace Processes in Colombia [April 26, 2018]
The outcome of the 2018 Presidential Elections will have important consequences for the precarious implementation of the 2016 FARC peace accord and the ongoing process with the ELN. Alejandra Barrios, Director of the Electoral Observation Mission in Colombia, and Congresswoman Juanita Goebertus gave reflections on the issues around security, the reincorporation of the FARC, peace efforts and implementation. Discussion led to a dialogue of how to move forward with the eradication of violence while protecting equality and inclusion in Colombia.
Colombia Human Rights Defenders Navigate Post-Accord Challenges [February 14, 2018]
At the heart of the peace process are human rights defenders and civil society organizations who play a vital role in addressing the underlying economic and social root causes of violence and holding stakeholders accountable to the commitments of the accords. In partnership with the Washington Office on Latin America and the Latin American Working Group Education Fund, the discussion brought together the winners of the 2017 Colombia National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights to discuss the challenges they face in their communities and the role they play in engaging regional institutions, local authorities, and diverse social sector to secure sustainable peace.
Colombia's Recovery from War: Victims' Rights and Returning Fighters [October 31, 2017]
With 8 million registered victims of the armed conflict, the historic peace accord calls for measures to address vexing issues that, left unaddressed, could undermine a sustainable peace. The effect of the conflict and how the government is fulfilling its commitments was the focus of this discussion co-hosted with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Latin American Program. The panelists included award-winning photojournalist Jesús "Chucho" Abad Colorado, who has long documented the violence-- human, environmental, and otherwise which led a discussion on supporting the implementation of the peace agreement with the director of Colombia's Victims' Unit and the director of the country's Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization.
Seeking Truth on the 'Disappeared' [April 22, 2016]
Even while negotiations continue working in Havana, the Colombian Government and the FARC have committed to measures to recover and return the remains of tens of thousands of 'disappeared' people. The mechanism to recover these remains is one part of the proposed accord that is already in effect. With this provisional agreement in place, implementing and verifying these measures on the ground often proves difficult. The panel discussed the challenges around compliance of this particular agreement and the role of victim's organizations and human rights advocacy groups.
Is Peace in Colombia Feasible if it Excludes Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Communities? [March 17, 2016]
With its co-sponsor, the Washington Office on Latin America, USIP hosted an off-site event that discussed the role of marginalized victims and vital actors to the peace process: Afro-Colombian and indigenous minorities. Leaders of various national groups gathered in Washington to discuss both how they have been disproportionately affected by the conflict and strategies for their inclusion at the peace table. The newly formed Ethnic Commission for Peace and Defense of Territorial rights presented their views to guarantee a space for these communities in the transition to a post-conflict Colombia.
Women in the Peace Process: Making Peace Last in Colombia [March 8, 2016]
Women have historically played key roles in peacebuilding amidst conflict. In Colombia, they have led groundbreaking roles and have been key leaders to the innovations in Colombia's ongoing peace process. With a peace agreement in sight and on occasion of the International Women's Day, USIP experts and Norwegian Ambassador Kare R. Aas, co-sponsored an event with the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum, which highlighted UNSCR 1325 and the levels of engagement of women in peace processes as a matter of international security.
Colombia: Human Rights Defenders Building Sustainable Peace [February 18, 2016]
In conjuncture with its co-sponsors, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and the Washington Office on Latin America, USIP hosted a discussion with the four winners of last year's National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia. These human rights defenders reflected on the challenges they and their fellow advocates face in their regions, and the role of human rights defenders in building sustainable peace in Colombia.
President Juan Manuel Santos in Washington, D.C. [February 3, 2016]
Co-sponsored with the Atlantic Council, the Council of the Americas, the Inter- American Dialogue, and the Woodrow Wilson Center, USIP hosted an off-site event with President Juan Manuel Santos. President Santos discussed Colombia's progress in security and governance over the last 15 years, with the support of the bi-partisan efforts of Plan Colombia. Santos also reviewed the state of the negotiations with the FARC, the prospects for a country at peace, and the challenges that lie ahead.
Historical Memory and Transitional Justice: Basta Ya! Report Illuminates Issues at Crux of Colombia's Peace Talks Breakthrough [September 30, 2015]
In this day-long event, 14 scholars and activists analyzed the place of historical memory in creating a successful system of transitional justice—one that that deals with rights of victims to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition. Participants generated lessons from the experience of the Historical Memory Center and made recommendations for the anticipated truth commission to be established following a peace deal.
Women Working Towards Reconciliation [July 15, 20 ]
Leaders from the Ecumenical Group of Women Peacemakers (GEMPAZ), a USIP-supported network, discussed their strategies for post-conflict reconciliation and the model of psychosocial assistance and training they have developed for working with victims and ex-combatants.
Opening the Peace Process to Afro-Colombian Stakeholders [May 26, 2015]
A new alliance of Colombia's leading Afro-Colombian groups made the case for inclusion of Afro-Colombian and indigenous perspectives in the Havana talks at this Peace Forum event. The forum considered strategies for how Afro-Colombians and other excluded groups could enhance their participation in the peace process.
Peace from the Regions [March 27, 2015]
Translating a national peace accord into practice will require engaging regional institutions, local authorities and diverse social sectors in what the Colombian government has called "territorial peace," or peace from the ground up. This forum brought together national and regional government officials and representatives of civil society organizations to dialogue about how such a plan might be put into practice.
Paths to Reintegration [January 29, 2015]
Helping former insurgents transition to a productive civilian life will be a major challenge once a peace agreement is signed.
In two panels at this Colombia Peace Forum event, Colombian and U.S. government officials and non-governmental analysts drew lessons from past demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs in Colombia and beyond.
Demobilizations in Colombia: An Evolving Process [November 17, 2014]
In this Colombia Peace Forum, former ex-combatants of past peace processes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) discussed the limitations of earlier Colombian approaches to demobilization, disarmament, and re-integration. The forum generated ideas on how the negotiators in Havana might better anticipate and address the needs of demobilizing FARC troops, especially with regard to ex-combatant women, who currently make up some forty percent of FARC fighters.
The Colombia Peace Process: A Discussion with Luis Eduardo Celis [August 28, 2014]
Journalist and political analyst Luis Eduardo Celis updated the Colombia Peace Forum on the status of the peace talks in Havana, the challenges and blockages for advancing talks with the ELN, and the importance of a peace process with each group to bolster Colombia's prospects for a comprehensive peace.
Peace Proposals from Victims [July 29, 2014]
As the negotiators laid out a groundbreaking framework on principles for addressing the rights of victims, and an innovative methodology that would bring delegations of victims to Havana to present their proposals to the negotiators, this Colombia Peace Forum event brought youth and indigenous representatives to Washington to discuss the proposals being generated from victims' organizations in Colombia.
The Peace Process in Colombia: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for the Protection of Human Rights [March 27, 2014]
This forum analyzed the intersection of human rights and the Colombian peace process in Havana. Human rights leaders in Washington to present testimony before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights at the Organization of American States discussed their proposals (including a proposal for creation of a Special Peace Tribunal that was later adopted by the negotiators in Havana) to ensure that the peace process addressed the need to protect and promote human rights.
Pending Issues on the Peace Agenda [September 23, 2013]
This two-day Colombia Peace Forum brought together two dozen past and present USIP peace scholars and senior fellows to analyze and generate recommendations around three issues on Colombia's peace agenda—agrarian development, political participation, and illicit crops and drug trafficking.
Women, War and Peacebuilding in Colombia [November 5, 2012]
This Colombia Peace Forum event featured a screening of "The War We are Living", a panel discussion on women's roles in the peace process and peacebuilding.