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Colombia News Brief for June 20-26, 2017

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Welcome to LAWG’s Colombia News Brief, a compilation of the last week’s top articles and reports on issues of peace, justice, human rights, and more in Colombia. Throughout the summer months, dependent on the capacity of LAWG, the Colombia News Brief will be sent out either weekly or bi-weekly.

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Students march for peace in Ituango, Antioquia. Photo by: Nicolas Bedoya

Peace Accord Implementation

Final Stage of the Laying Down of Arms Has Been Initiated by the FARC-EP
UN Mission to Colombia, June 20, 2017
“’Once again we are showing, not only to the Colombian people but to the world that our vocation for peace is sincere, that our greatest desire is for Colombian families to reconcile,’ said Joaquín Gómez for whom the beginning of the final phase of laying down of weapons is a sign of good will for peace by FARC-EP.”

President: Colombia on verge of completing rebel disarmament
Associated Press, June 23, 2017
“Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says the nation is on the verge of completing an historic feat: All guerrillas in the country’s largest rebel group will soon have turned in their weapons.”

Aid to Colombia Is Crucial to U.S. Security
William H. Godnick, Houston Chronicle, June 25, 2017
“U.S. support to the government of Colombia through a range of initiatives from a variety of funding sources has historically been one relatively bright spot of bipartisanship in Congress…The latest budget proposal from the White House, with its proposed 31 percent cut in aid to Colombia combining both military and nonmilitary assistance, threatens to take that momentum in a different direction right when the investment appears to be paying dividends.”

Será un día histórico
Editorial, El Tiempo, 25 de junio de 2017
“Lo cierto es que esta entrega de armas ocupaba un renglón muy alto en dicho listado y hoy es una realidad. Es de esperarse que esta humana reticencia a aceptar que lo utópico puede pasar al plano real sea lo que en últimas motive a los escépticos.”

Llegó la hora de la política legal para las Farc
Marisol Gómez Giraldo, El Tiempo, 25 de junio de 2017
“Terminado el desarme de las Farc, que tendrá su cierre público este martes 27 en una de sus zonas de influencia histórica, Mesetas, en el Meta, el más grande desafío para esta organización que durante medio siglo enfrentó a punta de fusiles al Estado colombiano será darle vida a su partido político, precisamente, bajo las reglas de la institucionalidad que combatió.”

Will Last Year’s Peace Treaty Survive, Or Is Past Prologue in Colombia?

Greg Grandin, The Nation, June 22, 2017
“…the integration of former FARC members into electoral politics, might indicate the start of a new model of state-building in Colombia, one that will give rural Colombians meaningful forms of participation and voice, all within legal frameworks.”

A Modest Proposal to Advance Peace in Colombia
Emilio Huertas, Huffington Post, June 22, 2017
“My fellow members of Colombia’s civil society organizations believe there is a way to achieve this collaboration. We are proposing the formation of 16 regional citizen committees to support and accompany the implementation of the peace agreement signed between the Government of Colombia (GOC) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).”

The enemy within: as FARC rebels disarm, what peace for Colombia’s women?

Anastasia Moloney, Reuters, June 23, 2017
“’The FARC peace deal is an opportunity for the government to focus more attention and resources on combating gender violence, and for the problem to become more visible. Gender violence has been a hidden issue and one that took second place,’ said Cristina Velez, head of gender affairs at the Bogota mayor’s office.”

Activists: Put Women at Center of Colombia Peace Deal to Ensure Lasting Peace
Reuters, June 21, 2017
“As Colombia’s FARC rebels prepare to hand over the last of their weapons next week, leading rights activist have warned women are not yet playing a strong enough role in implementing a peace deal signed last year by the government and the fighters.”

In Colombia, FARC ‘nurses’ want to trade arms for white coats
Agence France-Presse, June 23, 2017
“As a battlefield nurse for Colombia’s FARC rebels, Johana Japon helped stitch up wounded fighters as bullets whizzed past her. And now that the rebel army is demobilising under a historic accord signed last year to end more than 50 years of war, Japon wants to study medicine, don the white garb of a bona fide nurse and tend to everyday patients.”

Pope Seeks to Encourage Colombian Reconciliation With Trip
Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 23, 2017
“Pope Francis will preside over a reconciliation ceremony between Colombian victims and former guerrillas during a September visit aimed at consolidating the peace process to end Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict…The Vatican on Friday released details of Francis’ Sept. 6-11 trip, his fifth to Latin America and the first papal visit to Colombia since St. John Paul II’s pilgrimage in 1986.”

Millonario aporte de Francia al posconflicto
María Victoria Correa, El Colombiano, June 21, 2017
“Tras el encuentro ayer en el Palacio del Elíseo entre el presidente de Colombia Juan Manuel Santos y su homólogo de Francia, Emmanuel Macron; ambos coincidieron en repudiar el terrorismo, en particular los hechos del fin de semana en Bogotá, donde murieron tres personas, incluida la ciudadana francesa, Julie Huynh. Además, este fue el escenario para que Francia anunciara su aporte financiero a la paz con el otorgamiento de dos créditos por 334 millones de euros.”

Colombia busca acabar con la violencia en el país tras el desarme de las FARC
Francesco Manetto, El País, 26 de junio de 2017
“El presidente advirtió desde el primer momento de que no permitirá que nada perjudique el camino a la paz. ‘Hemos avanzado mucho para consolidar la tranquilidad de los colombianos y tengan la seguridad de que no vamos a permitir que lo logrado hasta ahora sea frenado por un puñado de extremistas, de cobardes o de quienes no quieren la reconciliación del pueblo colombiano’, aseguró.”

Bike Race Symbolizes Colombia’s Transition from War to Peace
All Things Considered, NPR, June 23, 2017
“As the South American nation of Colombia transitions from war to peace, it is trying to lure visitors to places once rendered off limits by conflict. One village is trying to market its natural beauty through a bike race.”

ELN Peace Negotiations

Gobierno, dispuesto a negociar cese al fuego con el Eln
EFE, 21 de junio de 2017
“El Gobierno de Colombia manifestó a la guerrilla del Eln su disposición de iniciar el estudio de un cese al fuego bilateral y de hostilidades a propósito de la visita que el papa Francisco hará al país en septiembre.”

Cese Al Fuego Bilateral, una necesidad inaplazable
ELN Paz, 21 de junio de 2017
“Esperamos poder pactar pronto este Cese al Fuego Bilateral, a partir de las importantes coincidencias, que tenemos en este momento las dos Partes; conscientes que este Cese llevará alivio a muchos compatriotas y creará un mejor clima, para la participación de la sociedad en el proceso de paz.”
 
Colombia’s ELN frees two Dutch journalists
Al Jazeera, June 24, 2017
“Colombia’s Marxist ELN fighters have released two Dutch journalists they had captured earlier this week, according to officials.”

Human Rights

Venezuelans seeking humanitarian visas in Colombia
Tim Hinchliffe, Colombia Reports, June 22, 2017
“As near daily anti-government protests entered their third month in Venezuela, nationals of that country who have fled the turmoil are seeking special “humanitarian visas” in eastern Colombia, local media reported Tuesday.”

For the legacy of a lasting peace in Colombia
June 23, 2017
An organization called COMParte shares a video highlighting educational and community programs in neighborhoods inhabited by ex-guerilla fighters, ex-paramilitaries, and individuals displaced by the violence in Bogota.

*The Colombia News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.