USIP is supporting the efforts of civil society leaders to meet, discuss, and articulate strategies for putting peace in Colombia on the agenda of policymakers. Beginning with an initial conference in 2008, USIP has convened a series of activities with civil society working on the Colombian conflict in both Washington, DC and Colombia. Known as the Washington Group, the participants include some three dozen leaders of peace and human rights organizations in Colombia, and several NGO partners in the United States.
Analysts and policymakers have traditionally focused on the role of the armed actors in Colombia--primarily the FARC and the ELN guerrillas, and paramilitary organizations. As unarmed civilians have become the major victims of the conflict, they are also seeking a more active role in the conflict’s resolution. However, their activities are often fragmented, and relatively unknown. With a new administration in Bogotá and the possibility of renewed peace talks in the future, there is a need for non-armed civil society stakeholders to create strategies to ensure that their interests are considered in any future peace agreement. This project thus seeks to:
- Assist civil society leaders in articulating goals and policy proposals on peace more clearly
- Facilitate Colombian civil society efforts to communicate their goals and strategies to policymakers
- Advance the state of knowledge in the United States about non-armed actors and the role of civil society in relation to peacemaking and peace-building in Colombia.
USIP has convened and supported a series of meetings with civil society leaders, who in turn have convened numerous meetings and conferences among themselves and with their own constituencies. Some highlights include:
“Promoting Peace in Colombia: Ideas for the New Administration,” a day-long conference on December 2, 2008, co-sponsored with the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) and Colombia Committee for Human Rights (CCHR)
- Read the Program Agenda and Conference Report
- Read the Letter to President Obama signed by over 100 civil society organizations
"Administration Roundtable on Colombia,” December 2009
- Read the conference communiqué
Three-day consultation with civil society leaders in Paipa, Colombia, organized by CODHES, August 2010