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As Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement reaches the half-way point of its 15-year timetable, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) release Advancing from Partial Peace, a report on the status of the accords’ implementation and on “total peace” — Colombia’s efforts to forge peace with other illegal armed groups.

The report urges the U.S. Congress and State Department to…

  1. Increase diplomatic and financial support for peace accord implementation, including for the unprecedented Ethnic Chapter.
  2. Support negotiations with the ELN, the largest remaining guerrilla group.
  3. Be open to supporting negotiations with additional groups if they mature sufficiently.

Most peace accords fail within five years of signing; Colombia’s has long passed that mark. In what the head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, calls a “global success story,” the vast majority of the FARC’s 13,000 members have laid down arms and permanently returned to civilian life — marking the end of the Western Hemisphere’s longest armed conflict.

“The 2016 accords are not just an agreement resolving a conflict with one armed group,” reflects Lisa Haugaard, “but a roadmap for Colombia to build a more sustainable, less deeply unequal society, based on the rule of law.” This roadmap leads Colombia away from the conditions that could drive future conflict.

Now, despite mounting obstacles, the Petro administration has advanced negotiations with the ELN further than any previous administration.

At the same time, many Colombians in areas affected by conflict remain at the mercy of armed groups. They have yet to see the realization of the ambitious promises of either the 2016 accords or “total peace.” Attempts to negotiate with illegal armed groups besides the ELN have been more tentative and controversial. Key provisions of the 2016 accords remain unfulfilled.

Despite the U.S. government’s pledge to “accompany” the accords’ Ethnic Chapter, only 13 percent of its stipulations have been completed (as measured by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies). The UN has verified the killings of hundreds of ex-combatants and Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders.

Simply put: While peace has advanced, it is fragile, and needs unceasing international support.

“At a moment when global conflict is rising,” Haugaard writes, “the United States would be well advised to support the few bright spots, such as Colombia, where peace is advancing.”

The full report can be read here.

Source of original article: Foreign Policy In Focus (
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