Negotiations with ELN Offer Colombia a Path Towards Comprehensive Peace

3/31/2016

BOGOTA, March 31, 2016 – The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) welcomes the announcement of formal peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN). This new process opens the possibility of achieving comprehensive peace in the country and entering a new phase in Colombian history.

Exploratory talks with the second largest guerrilla organization in the country began in 2014 and took place in Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela. The ELN currently has an estimated 1,300 to 2,000 combatants.

The agenda agreed to by the parties emphasizes the participation of society which will strengthen the efforts to build stable and lasting peace, an objective that Colombian society is determined to achieve.

“We congratulate the parties for recognizing the importance of placing victims at the center of the peace processes,” said ICTJ’s President David Tolbert. “We hope that the contributions from all of those involved, including the social sectors that will participate in these talks, will strengthen and consolidate the mechanisms of truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence agreed by the Government and the FARC-EP in Havana.”

The public dialogue roundtable will be established in Ecuador. Some of the sessions will also be held in Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Cuba. Each delegation will consist of 30 representatives of the parties and up to ten people from each delegation will participate in the sessions.

The negotiation agenda contains six points: societal participation; democracy for peace; victims; transformations for peace; security for peace and laying down of weapons; and guarantees for political participation.

“ICTJ reiterates its willingness to put its national and international experience at the service of this new process of peace talks, which together with the Havana agreements will make it possible to put an end to the longstanding armed conflict in Colombia,” said Maria Camila Moreno, Director of the ICTJ Office in Colombia.

Contact

Maria Camila Moreno, ICTJ’s Head of Office in Colombia
E-mail: mcmoreno@ictj.org
Tel: +57 1 248 0488

Refik Hodzic, ICTJ Director of Communications
E-mail: rhodzic@ictj.org
Tel: +1 917-637-3853

PHOTO: Frank Pearl, head of Colombia's peace negotiation team, left, hands documents to Antonio Garcia, chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, during a signing agreement to start peace talks, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The formal peace talks with the ELN, the country's second-largest rebel group, heightens expectations for a definitive end to a half-century of political violence in the Andean nation. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)