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Peace in Colombia: How It Happened Could Change the World

August 30, 2016
Plain English Version
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, with Cuba's President Raul Castro (C), react after the signing of a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016. ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, with Cuba’s President Raul Castro (C), react after the signing of a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016. ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

For more than fifty years there was war in Colombia. It was between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The parties reached an agreement to end the conflict in June. A ceasefire is now in effect. How they did it could mean a new way of ending disputes in other countries.

The families of victims were part of the talks. They came and looked the leaders in the eyes. They talked about their pain and suffering from losing family members. This was part of addressing the idea of justice.

The challenge is always how to convince fighters to put down their arms. If they face severe punishment, they have no reason to stop fighting. If they are not punished, where is the justice?

It does not look like it, but the world has moved forward on these issues. In Colombia, those who confess to war crimes will face sentences. The penalty will be up to eight years of “effective restriction of movement.” The exact meaning will be the work of a tribunal. It could include community service. Some observers think that is not enough.

There was another new idea. Gender issues were part of the talks.  The parties created a gender committee. It brought the rights of women to the table. It also spoke to the rights of others, including gays and lesbians. The idea was to ensure that more groups would take an interest in the peace process.

There are sure to be many views of what happened. A vote on the final agreement will take place on October 2, 2016.

Experts are marveling at the agreement. It will have the force of international law. Many believe the process and outcome can serve as an inspiration. It can be a solution to conflicts around the world.

This is a welcome change.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor August 26, 2016

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