Peace and Victims’ Rights in Colombia
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on victims’ rights and the implementation of the peace accords in Colombia.
During the four years of negotiations that produced the 2016 peace accord between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the rights of victims of grave violations of human rights and infractions of international humanitarian law – including victims of sexual violence – were at the forefront. Under international law, victims have rights to truth, justice, reparations and the guarantee of non-recurrence. The final version of the accord foresaw the creation of a truth commission, a special unit to search for forcibly disappeared persons, and a transitional justice process for those responsible for abuses. The agreement also incorporated provisions to ensure women’s participation in the construction of peace, in keeping with UN Resolution 1325, and included important commitments meant to address the root causes of the 60-year-old conflict and thus ensure non-recurrence, such as rural reforms and the complete dismantling of illegal paramilitary forces. On paper, the Colombian accord is one of the most victim-centered peace agreements ever forged.
The hearing will examine the implementation of the peace accord a year and a half after its signing in late November 2016, focusing on the aspects most directly relevant to victims’ and women’s rights. Witnesses will discuss the situation in rural areas of Colombia, efforts by opponents of the accord to change or block it, and the unceasing violence against community leaders and human rights defenders. According to data from the Colombian ombudsman’s office, a total of 311 social leaders were killed from January 2016 through June 30, 2018. As a new president prepares to take office in Colombia on August 7, 2018, the hearing will identify ways Members of Congress can contribute to the consolidation of peace in a country that is a close United States ally.
This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via YouTube on the Commission website, https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/, and will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel 54. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or Kimberly.Stanton@mail.house.gov (for Rep. McGovern) or Jamie Staley at 202-226-1516 or Jamie.Staley@mail.house.gov (for Rep. Hultgren).
Elise Ditta, Research Associate, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Jenny Neme, Coordinator for Policy Advocacy, Inter-Ecclesiastical Dialogue for Peace (DiPaz)
Angela Escobar, Coordinator, Network of Women Victims and Professionals
Luis Fernando Arias, Secretary General, National Indigenous Association of Colombia (ONIC)
Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Submitted for the Record