The Colombian government and the Farc rebel group announced a new peace agreement, six weeks after the original deal was rejected in a popular vote, and signed last 24th of November at the Teatro Colón in Bogotá. The agreement was also approved with overwhelming majority by both the Colombian Congress and Senate.
The new agreement was signed amid news of killings of two members of the Farc, the murder of more than 30 Colombian human rights defenders across the country and threats against leaders of the left-wing group Marcha Patriótica in the midst of the bilateral ceasefire.
This new agreement incorporates proposals from the opposition and other groups. Despite the two meetings between the Government and the opposition to discuss the incorporated points, former president Álvaro Uribe and his political party Centro Democrático said the new agreement did not include all their suggestions and claimed that the government was offering impunity for serious crimes. Nevertheless, the Senate and Congress both approved the agreements this week.
The new revised plan consists of 310 pages, 13 more than the original. These are the main modifications:
- It will not be part of Colombia’s Constitution
- A time limit of 10 years is set for the transitional justice system
- The Farc will be expected to provide full information about any drug trafficking they may have been involved in
- Rebels will have to declare all their assets, hand them over and use them for reparation payments for the victims
- The Government will reduce by 30% the financial support for the political party of the Farc
- Unfounded concerns by religious groups that the agreement undermined family values and created a ‘gender ideology’ have been addressed and clarified.
See also: “Colombian Senate backs new Farc peace deal“
It is important to say that the supposed ‘gender ideology’ was not actually part of the first peace agreement. The first 297 pages included a ‘gender approach’, which suggested the same opportunities and rights for women and minorities such as the LGTBI community, indigenous peoples and afro-Colombian groups.
Peace talks with ELN in stand by
Although President Juan Manuel Santos designated the former Minister of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo as the head of the peace talks with the ELN last October, the dialogues, which would be held in Quito, Ecuador, are at present suspended.