In 2016, a historic peace accord ended the 50-year armed conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But implementing the accord and ensuring that its provisions equitably reach all corners of the country remains difficult.
Steve Hege, regional deputy director for Latin America, testified on July 1, 2021 at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission's hearing on "Protests in Colombia." His expert testimony as delivered is presented below.
After Colombia’s government proposed new tax hikes, social organizations and movements called for a national strike on April 28 across the country. Protesters believed the new fiscal policy — which the government said was aimed at mitigating the pandemic’s economic impact — would disproportionately hurt poor and vulnerable sectors of society. Although the marches and mass gatherings were initially widespread and peaceful, security forces cracked down on demonstrators accused of taking part in vandalism, killing at least 43 and injuring hundreds more. Meanwhile, pre-existing and resulting anger among some groups of protesters led to attacks on security forces and police stations, setting off a cycle of violence.
In the 20 years since governments declared it imperative to include women’s groups and their demands in peace processes, experience and research continue to show that this principle strengthens peace agreements and helps prevent wars from re-igniting. Yet our inclusion of women has been incomplete and, in some ways, poorly informed. Now a study of recent peace processes in Colombia, Mali, Afghanistan and Myanmar offers new guidance on how to shape women’s roles. A critical lesson is that we must ensure this inclusion from the start.
En el 2016, un acuerdo de paz histórico termino el conflicto armado de 50 años entre el Gobierno Colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Pero implementar el acuerdo – que significa cementar lo acordado en la legislación nacional y asegurarse que sus provisiones lleguen a todas las partes del país de forma equitativa – sigue siendo difícil.
In 2016, a historic peace accord ended the 50-year armed conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But implementing the accord—which means cementing the agreement into national legislation and ensuring its provisions reach all corners of the country equitably—remains difficult.
Intense polarization in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Colombia will present Washington with significant challenges in the years ahead. But USIP’s Keith Mines says, for the most part, leaders in those countries “are looking for a way forward … there’s a more realistic framework of coexistence that’s emerging.”
USIP implemented its Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict (IMPACT) program first in the Central African Republic and later in Colombia, where it worked directly with peacebuilding organizations to gauge their collective impact on fostering reconciliation in the wake of the 2016 peace accord between the government and FARC rebels. Drawing on the challenges encountered and lessons learned, this report provides suggestions for how future iterations of the IMPACT approach can help policymakers, donors, and practitioners achieve greater and more cost-effective results from the peacebuilding projects they support.
After the U.S. indictment of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, USIP’s Steve Hege looks at how the political crisis in Venezuela endangers vulnerable populations as well as neighboring Colombia amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.