FARC-EP, News from Havana, Cuba, 08.03.2015 [En]
Joint Communiqué #52: Humanitarian Agreement
AGREEMENT ON THE CLEANING AND DECONTAMINATION OF THE TERRITORY OF THE PRESENCE OF ANTIPERSONNEL MINES (APM), IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES (IEDs) AND UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE (UXO), OR EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS OF WAR (ERW) IN GENERAL
Within the context of de-escalation, to advance in confidence-building and to help create safe conditions for the people that are in risk areas because of the presence of mines, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war, and to provide guarantees of non-repetition to the communities, the government and the FARC-EP have agreed to request the organization Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to lead and coordinate the implementation of a project for the cleaning and de-contamination of APMs, IEDs and UXO or ERW.
To ensure continuity of the process, it will open the possibility of including other organizations creditable or credited in Colombia.
– Selection of Places: The National Government and the FARC-EP will select an initial number of places that will be the subject of a first stage of cleaning and decontamination in the context of de-escalation. The decontamination will prioritize those places where the population has greater risk of being affected by the presence of APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs, based on the information available to the national government and the FARC-EP, and taking into account the information provided by specialized organizations and communities.
– Collection of information using teams for Non-Technical Survey (NTS). A team of NPA will carry out the NTS within selected areas with participation in each NTS team of FARC representatives and technicians of the National Government, as required. The NTS must accurately identify the areas actually contaminated by APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs, also relying on local communities next to contaminated areas. The NTS will be done in a traditional way with a questionnaire submitted previously by the National Government and the FARC-EP (including data of socioeconomic impact). The questionnaire should be developed specifically for Colombia. The team will evaluate all available information, consult key sources of information and it will also speak with men and women who live in the affected areas. The results of the NTS will be the basis for a cleaning and decontamination plan.
– Cleaning and decontamination using multi-task teams. The NPA will form multi-task teams for the purpose of cleaning confirmed dangerous areas from the threat of APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs, mark the areas that will not be cleaned during the pilot project and ensure that local communities understand the risks involved with APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs (through risk education). In an initial stage, each multi-task team will consist of a coordinating leader and verifier of the NPA and government technicians. The Government will appoint BIDES (Battalions of Humanitarian Demining) for clearance. The whole process of cleaning and decontamination will be accompanied by two members of the government, of the FARC-EP and of the communities. The Government will expedite the certification process of the NPA in order to advance in other stages of this project, agreed between the National Government and the FARC-EP, and also have the support of civilian demining teams. Cleaning and decontamination of confirmed hazardous areas shall be in accordance with international and national standards.
– Dialogue with communities. During the implementation of the cleaning and decontamination process, continuous and close dialogue will be maintained between the NPA and the communities to create confidence in the quality of the cleaning, decontamination or clearance operations, and the exchange of information about APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs by communities to multi-task teams will be promoted.
– Verification. To ensure that the cleaning, decontamination or clearance operations meet the necessary standards and to ensure that the territory is free from suspicion of APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs, NPA will conduct the verification in a systematic manner and in accordance with best international practices and standards. All verification and the whole process, which comprises cleaning and decontamination, will be accompanied by two representatives of the National Government, two members representatives designated by the FARC-EP and two community representatives.
– Formal delivery to national and local authorities and to the communities. The verification team of NPA, along with delegates from the National Government and the FARC-EP, will make formal delivery of the decontaminated land to representatives and local community authorities.
– The guarantors will accompany the activities of this project.
– The National Government and the FARC-EP will establish a technical group to define the sites, the roadmap for the implementation of this measure, including the forms and specificities of their participation in the project.
– The National Government commits itself to guarantee the necessary technical and material resources and the transport logistics required by the NPA – which will have a humanitarian nature – for the implementation of the initiative and to take the necessary measures for the recovery of goods and services concerned. The medical support staff will be conformed by civilians. The Government will keep the Table informed on all the resources that have been supplied.
– The National Government and the FARC-EP commit themselves to keep the areas clean and decontaminated, thus providing guarantees of non-repetition to the communities.
– The Conversation Table establishes a mechanism to account for the progress and compliance in the implementation of this measure of de-escalation which is a mutual commitment.
– NPA will certify that the site is free of suspicion of APMs, IEDs and UXOs or ERWs.
Ready to draft Agreement on Victims of Conflict
Round 33 closed with a strong international support for the peace process and with the meeting in Havana between warriors and contenders – Generals and insurgent leaders – not to unleash lethal fire, but to shoot with unbridled passion the entire arsenal of our hope for peace.
To top off a memorable round, in which the third gender meeting took place as well, the plenipotentiaries of the parties will present a humanitarian agreement to the country today, about the cleaning and decontamination of our minefields and explosive remnants of war, that seeks to eliminate the risks they pose to the physical integrity of the humble people who work on the land and the fighters themselves, who by this gesture advance in the de-escalation of war.
We are on track. In some way, the visit of Mr. Kofi Annan expressed the growing interest that the international community is beginning to show in the peace process, providing us the possibility to explain the reality of the conflict to those who perceive it from outside and from far away. The history of this conflict has particular characteristics which claims for solutions primarily by its own people, without outside interference that could put obstacles to our reconciliation, because our case is not that of Bosnia-Herzegovina, neither Rwanda nor Yugoslavia. We are not Sudan or Libya, and nothing of our case resembles these cases or circumstances of any other conflict around the world.
During this round we were visiting Havana Special Envoy to Washington for peace talks, Mr Bernie Aronson, who brought the message of support from the United States to the process, and with whom the Peace Delegation FARC held two meetings in which frank, useful and productive discussions took place, the contents resolved hold in reserve. We expect that the role of this high official is favorable for achieving peace advocacy, taking into account the presence and permanent impact that the US has in political, economic and social life of Colombia.
It is satisfying to be able to express that the technical sub-commission, which has to deal with such important issues as the definitive, bilateral ceasefire and the mutual commitment to the surrender of weapons has begun to walk at a good pace, building a frank approach and trust between combatants, all of them from underprivileged sectors of the country. It was necessary that the sons and daughters of the common people could meet to seek solutions to this war that has been imposed on us from the heights of power. This war between the poor must end, but there is no way to conclude it without the participation of the ones who risk their lives on the battlefields every day.
Regarding the war and the need for its de-escalation, the FARC-EP presented, in the presence of the guarantors of Cuba and Norway, a detailed record of 15 unilateral gestures that speak of the full disposal of the insurgency to create a better atmosphere for the dialogues. Among these gestures, which have not had reciprocity on the part of those who are every day asking for more without giving anything, we can mention five unilateral ceasefires, counting the one in force since December 20 for an indefinite period; the release of several prisoners of war, including General Alzate and the decision to raise the age of 15, which is what provides the internationally regulations, to 17 as the minimum age for admission of new fighters to our ranks, which is the approach suggested by the Optional Protocol concerning this matter.
Round 33 also saw the completion of the third meeting of the gender sub-commission, during which the voices of important leaders of organizations from Colombia were heard, claiming the rights of women, LGBTI people and community sectors which advocate for respect for diversity and inclusion, in order to reach a Colombia without any kind of discrimination.
The Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP culminated the presentation of 66 minimum proposals concerning the comprehensive rights of the victims of the conflict, among which we included “Clarification of the historical truth and facts occurred during the conflict and their impact on the population”, which served as basis for structuring our proposal on the Commission for Clarification and Non Repetition, CENRE.
Returning to the “DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES FOR THE DISCUSSION OF AGENDA ITEM 5: VICTIMS” agreed by the parties last year, and collecting ideas and initiatives send to us by victims of the conflict and social and popular organizations via mail or via meetings in Havana, we made a package of 140 initiatives, which we also presented at the Table under the title “Proposals of the FARC-EP and the society for the construction of a New Colombia without victims”. Doing so, we want the Table to listen to the viewpoints of those social and popular movements and victims’ organizations who haven’t had the opportunity yet to come to Havana to be heard.
Regarding our proposal on “Clarification of the historical truth of the conflict and its impact on the population”, something that has already been advanced with the findings of the Historical Commission of the Conflict and its victims, in this round we presented, before the government and the guarantors of the peace process, our initiative on the Commission of Clarification and Non Repetition (CENRE), with a detailed explanation about the fact that in this proposal are synthesized the foundations of many other proposals that on the same subject have been debated in our country, in order to intensify the search for truth about the facts of the conflict, its origins, causes and responsibilities.
All these inputs, we believe, are sufficient to initiate as soon as possible the drafting of the agreement on the fifth item of the Agenda.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Peace with social justice, from a women’s point of view
Today, March 6, two days before International Women’s Day, the third (and last) meeting between the Gender sub-Commission (a joint commission of FARC delegates and government delegates, mostly women) and six representatives of women’s organizations from Colombia took place.
The official meeting (with plenipotenciaries, guarantor and accompanying countries and UN) lasted until one o’clock, but after lunch the sub-Commission sessioned alone with the representatives for two more hours, to gather ideas and proposals that will help to guarantee a gender perspective in the partial agreements. The five women and one man (representative of the LGTBI community) held a press conference at 4 o’clock. Victoria Sandino, head of the Gender sub-Commission of the FARC-EP, read a document to welcome the representatives. We translated it into English:
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, March 6, 2015
The FARC-EP welcomes you with an embrace as expression of affection; we welcome the delegation of the government and the representatives of the guarantor and accompanying countries, as well as the invited representative of UN WOMEN.
We want to tell all the women in Colombia, on the eve of March 8, that peace with social justice is not only a real possibility, but also a tangible reality. We are making a huge effort; we have declared a unilateral cease fire for an indefinite period and that’s a testament of our unwavering commitment to peace with social justice.
The Gender Sub-commission is an important scenario for peace with social justice from a women’s point of view. Their active participation in the peace process is not only an obligation, but also a moral duty for those who were invisible for so many years. We are listening to all women in the country; the workers, the feminists, the intellectuals, the inhabitants of the countryside and the city, the victims, the sexual diversity.
«We have come with our heads up, proud, rebellious, purposeful, but above all convinced that the future of our country should be free of war»
We have been witnesses of the pain of the peasants; we have seen whole villages that have been dispossessed, we have seen the large-scale mining and the land hurts us, the country hurts us, Colombia hurts us. We have come with our heads up, proud, rebellious, purposeful, but above all convinced that the future of our country should be free of war. New winds of peace with inclusion and democracy should be given to our prolific and diverse Colombia. You and we are not on opposite sides; we have suffered the conflict from different angles; we share the pain of bloodshed in our country; we are convinced that you and us want the best for Colombia, the best for women, that’s why today we feel hopeful.
We see the struggle for gender equity in the whole world today; on our continent it is growing stronger and this is reflected in parliaments, classrooms, factories and countless scenarios where women assume social, economic and political roles outside the domestic sphere. We feel identified particularly with feminist ideas inspired by the ideals of emancipation of women, together with the anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-patriarchal struggles, as systems of domination that not only exploit the majority socially and economically, but also exclude and violate women.
We understand that during all these years, you have built a formidable social movement forged in the struggles of gender, in the social struggles, in demonstrations, in politics and in resistance, but also in pursuit of creating an own way of thinking, as Colombian, Latin American and Caribbean women.
«A woman whose rights have been violated in the countryside or in the city is more than just a number; it is a reflection of how much we still have to change, until destroying all forms of misogyny and sexism, products of patriarchy»
We have decided to be in this struggle, in which we believe and to which we have dedicated ourselves with autonomy and sacrifice, but also with the joy of knowing that this is a just struggle. Today, with pride and commitment, we raise our voice as political subjects, constructors of present and future, of peace with social justice. We have learned a lot from you. But we also have many things to teach, we know the jungle, we love nature, we know the value of species and biodiversity, but above all, we know the history and the pain of our people, its strength, its joy. Therefore, we invite and encourage you to interchange knowledge with us.
In Colombia, violence against women exists; on a daily basis, we find headlines in the newspapers about feminicides, social crime, domestic abuse, acid attacks, among other numerous and egregious forms of attack against the female gender. To this we can add that if the attacker is linked to the circles of economic, political or religious power, this condition guarantees his impunity in most cases.
We condemn sexual violence as an aggression that has terrible consequences for the person, subjecting him or her to an absolute vulnerability, beyond physical and emotional damage. To report it and express open solidarity with the victims of gender-based violence should break down the indifference, allowing justice to spread to all areas. A woman whose rights have been violated in the countryside or in the city is more than just a number; it is a reflection of how much we still have to change, until destroying all forms of misogyny and sexism, products of patriarchy.
We have collected the various proposals that have traveled from Colombia to Havana. We listened carefully to your interventions and initiatives during these hearings, which have been a conquest, with deep interest to share and understand your projects and plans of life. We share the need to give the agreements a perspective of women’s rights and sexual diversity, where the creation, implementation and control of plans and programs are carried out, considering the impact on and the needs of women; it is necessary to explain the free access to land ownership, particularly for rural, indigenous and Afro descendent women with agricultural vocation. In addition, women’s organizations should be represented in mechanisms and forums for resolving land disputes.
Special attention should be paid to the exchange of knowledge and successful experiences that facilitate the recovery of ancestral, afro and peasant traditions and practices; to the strengthening of organizational processes of rural women, which should allow their economic, political, social and cultural empowerment. Similarly, steps should be taken to strengthen political participation and special attention should be given to the differential risks women face in order to be able to exercise social and community political participation. Demilitarization of national life is essential, because it undermines democracy and also affects women and communities in general.
The peace agreements do not mean the abandonment of the strategic struggles; on the contrary, the struggle to eradicate capitalism and patriarchy that oppresses all women in the world, continues. This March 8, International Working Women’s Day is resistance, it is recalling brave women, the cause and beliefs that drive us to be active political subjects. This date allows us to assess women’s empowerment through history, and retake the road of the elimination of the various oppressions produced by the capitalist and patriarchal model, reproduced in State and society. This is the moment to strengthen unity, not only around the gender struggle, but also in favor of a political solution, where mobilization should be a cry of dignity and rebellion.
«Women must become multipliers of the concepts of equity and freedom, no matter which path we take»
The new generations must internalize values that allow reconciliation, respect and tolerance through a pedagogy for Peace, from a new education and academia. Women must become multipliers of the concepts of equity and freedom, no matter which path we take. Our message must be the rejection of violence, and the understanding of the causes that led to the Colombian conflict, so that the history of the oppressed peoples and the victims won’t be forgotten.
This third meeting should not be the last; it should be the beginning of a chain of relationships and discussions, which should become real actions for a National Constituent Assembly. The vision of a new country must be based on the momentum of legal and social mechanisms to prevent, punish and eradicate violence and discrimination against women and LGBTI people.
We work for life, peace with social justice and the welfare of humanity.
Gender Sub-Commission of the FARC-EP