5 Years of the Peace Agreement in Colombia: The Support of the International Community is Crucial for its Implementation

November 24th, 2021

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), which was a real moment of hope in a very dramatic context.

After decades of violent conflict, the Colombian people, alongside the entire world, long for a peaceful Colombia and, above all, justice, truth and non-repetition. This should as well include demilitarization of the territory and a permanent end to illegal practices in the military recruitment process, such as the so-called “batidas”.[1]

The final report from the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition, which will be published next year, is a milestone. Despite some progress, however, implementation of the Peace Agreement is slower than expected. The Comptroller General of Colombia noted that at the current rate, the treaty will not be fully implemented until 2047.[2] After five years, a mere fraction of the objectives has been achieved, while prominent supporters of the extinct guerrilla group are once again reaching for their weapons.

Without exception, all points of the peace agreement are behind schedule. A distinct lack of progress has been made with the Comprehensive Rural Reform in particular, where the annual implementation rate in key aspects such as in land formalization is below 30% of the expected result, and land distribution for peasants with no or insufficient land lies under 1%. Totally, less than 5% of this chapter has been implemented, although the land tenure issue is one of the main causes of the conflict and should receive special attention.[3]

In addition, it is of particular alarm the approach to the commitment to substitute the illicit economies, in particular coca, with legal sustainable crops as it is turning into forced eradication, as aerial fumigation with glyphosate is also expected to resume.[4]

Of particular concern is the increase in violence. Defenders of human rights are being killed at a rate that has not been seen for many years. In the current year, 155 human rights defenders and 44 former guerrilla fighters who signed the peace agreement have already been killed.[5]Moreover, since 2016, there has been an alarming increase in massacres; the number of victims tripled last year and in the current year there have already been 88 massacres with 313 deaths.[6] It is worth highlighting that the regions prioritized for implementation are the most affected by violence. If the safety of human rights defenders and former FARC-EP members is not guaranteed, the remaining points of the peace agreement will be a minor matter.

IFOR is concerned about the slow implementation of the peace agreement and the escalating violence against people who work on the respect for human rights and calls on the Colombian government to implement the necessary and expected measures.

In view of the numerous challenges, IFOR urges the support of the international community, thus the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the European Union -its member states- and other regional governmental institutions to:

  • Insist on the comprehensive implementation of the Peace Agreement.
  • Support a negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict between the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).
  • Support the dismantling of the paramilitary successor groups such as the self-proclaimed “Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia”.
  • Monitor the delicate security situation of human rights defenders and former FARC-EP members closely and insist in their protect.

[1] Contagioradio (2021): https://www.contagioradio.com/acooc-denuncia-regreso-de-batidas-y-reclutamiento-ilegal-del-ejercito-en-bogota/

Colombiainforma (2021) https://www.colombiainforma.info/servicio-militar-obligatorio-en-colombia-una-cadena-de-irregularidades/

[2] El Espectador (2021): Al ritmo actual el acuerdo de paz se implementaría en su totalidad hasta 2047

[3] Congreso de la República (2021): ¿En qué va la paz? Las cifras de la implementación.

[4] AlJazeera (2021): https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/28/colombia-coca

[5] Indepaz (2021): Líderes sociales, defensores de DDHH y firmantes de acuerdo asesinados en 2021

[6] Indepaz (2021): Informe de masacres en Colombia durante el 2020 y 2021

The original article can be found here