Colombia Current Affairs
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Colombia has formally joined North Atlantic Treaty Organization as global partner. It makes it first Latin American to join NATO. The announcement came after Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved Colombia as a new member.
NATO alliance had reached partnership agreement with Colombia back in May 2017, just after the Latin American signed peace agreement with communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ending the longest-running civil conflict in Latin America. The peace deal had earned Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
As a global partner with NATO, Colombia will not necessarily have to take part in active military actions of NATO but will be fully accredited to 29-nation military alliance. It will cooperate on global security areas like cyber and maritime security, terrorism and links to organized crime. Other global partners of NATO include Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, while headquarters of its Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
NATO system constitutes of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to attack by any external party. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global defence spending.
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.
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.