FARC Current Affairs

Colombia passes FARC amnesty law

Colombia’s Congress passed a law granting amnesty to Marxist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels as part of historic peace deal reached between rebels and Government.

The Senate passed the bill 69-0 votes after the House of Representatives approved it by 121-0 votes. This is another step to formally end to 52 years of Columbian civil war (Latin America’s longest conflict).

The law grants special legal treatment, amnesty and pardons to members of the FARC accused of political and related crimes. It does not apply to FARC rebels accused of offenses such as war crimes, rape, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Background

The amnesty bill was part of a renegotiated peace pact signed between Government and rebels on November 24, 2016 to end the conflict after nearly four years of negotiations. They had renegotiated the peace deal after voters rejected an earlier peace deal (signed in September 2016) by a narrow margin in the referendum held in October 2016. The Colombian Government had decided to ratify the amnesty bill in Congress rather than risk a second referendum.

About Colombian Civil War

Colombia civil war is one of the longest civil wars in modern times and was the sole remaining armed conflict in the South (Latin) America. The five decade long civil war has killed more than 2,60,000 people and internally displaced close to seven million people. It was started in the 1960s as a rural uprising for land rights by FARC as communist-inspired guerrilla movement inspired by Cuban Revolution. The main aim of FARC was to reduce the gulf dividing rich and poor and land reform for equality in the Andean country. Over the decades, the conflict has drawn in various leftist rebel groups, drug gangs and right-wing paramilitaries. However in recent times, the FARC had shifted from their original ideology and were active in illegal drug trade, kidnapping and extortion activities.

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Colombia Government, FARC rebels sign revised Peace Agreement

Colombian Government has signed revised peace agreement with the country’s largest rebel movement, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The revised document was signed between President Juan Manual Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono in Bogota, capital city of Colombia.

This is the second attempt undertaken by Colombian Government to end Latin America’s longest-running conflict (civil war) which has killed 220000 people. The previous deal singed September 2016 was rejected narrowly by the Colombian people in a popular vote held in October 2016.

The revised agreement will be submitted to Colombian Congress for approval, rather than put to a popular vote. It would not form a part of the Colombia’s constitution.

Key Facts

  • Within 90 days of approval of  revised agreement, FARC rebels will lay down their arms. Within five months they are required to completely surrender all weapons to the UN.
  • Under the new deal, rebels will have to declare their assets. The money will be used for reparation payments to victims of the conflict.
  •  However, the new agreement has not ban rebels from holding public office or includes jail terms.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2016 for his efforts to end the war.

Background

The civil war in Colombia is one of the longest civil wars in modern times and the sole remaining armed conflict in the South America. The five decade long civil war has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and internally displaced close to six million people. It was started in the 1960s as a rural uprising for land rights by FARC as communist-inspired guerrilla movement inspired by Cuban Revolution. The main aim of FARC was to reduce the gulf dividing rich and poor and land reform for equality in the Andean country. The conflict has drawn in various leftist rebel groups, drug gangs and right-wing paramilitaries over the decades. However in recent times, the FARC had shifted from their original ideology and were active in illegal drug trade, kidnapping and extortion activities.

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