Colombia: Assemblies To Define The Role Of Civil Society In The Peace Agreement With ELN Began

This Friday began the first of thirty meetings in which the mechanisms of civil society participation in the peace agreement with the ELN will be discussed .

Members of the negotiating table with the ELN

Photo: EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda


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Leer en español: Colombia: Gobierno y ELN inician asambleas para definir el papel de sociedad civil en acuerdo de paz

The delegations of the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) inaugurated this Friday in Bogotá the first meeting to design the participation of civil society in the peace agreement that is being negotiated with the guerrilla.

A hundred people, from community and alternative media, met with the two parties to the negotiations this Friday in a hotel in Bogotá to "work on the design of what the participation of the society," as detailed to the media by the ELN negotiator, Víctor Orlando Cubides, known as "Aureliano Carbonell."

"The heart of this peace process is the participation of society , that it be the one to say what are the basic transformations that enable a context of peace and changes in the country," said the guerrilla leader.

However, it is a long process, which officially began on August 2 with the inauguration of the National Participation Committee (CNP) and in which thirty meetings are now underway throughout the country to listen to different sectors of the population who expose models of participation.

Read also: Colombian Government and ELN Will Create "Humanitarian Zones" Agreed Upon in the Peace Talks

"We are in a process that has among its components 30 meetings that will allow nearly 6,000 people to help us think about the design of what the participation of millions of Colombians should be. We want to start with this exercise to go from the word to the fact," said Senator Iván Cepeda, a member of the Government delegation in the negotiations, during the opening ceremony of the meeting.

This is because the first three points of the peace agreement that is being negotiated – and which has a total of six – deal precisely with society being the one who participates in the construction of peace, because it is in the territories, it is the communities, which they benefit from the agreement.

"We hope that this participation process will take place in 2024 and part of 2025. It will be the same society that diagnoses what the country's basic problems are and at the same time proposes a series of transformations that give rise to a peace agreement," Carbonell explained.

Good functioning of the cessation

The day the CNP (made up of 81 people from 30 sectors who will lead the meetings) was installed, August 2, a 180-day bilateral ceasefire also came into force, the longest agreed upon with the guerrilla.

"The ceasefire is going well," explained "Aureliano Carbonell" to the media today, who assured that it is being respected regarding hostilities between public forces and guerrillas (as dictated by the ceasefire agreement).

"The problem is that there are many sectors that want to sabotage this ceasefire and have unleashed an offensive in many territories," added the guerrilla leader, in line with the complaints that the ELN has made in recent weeks of a paramilitary offensive in the territories.

So far there have been no serious complaints of violations of the ceasefire, although it will be on November 3 when the first detailed report of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism of the ceasefire, led by the UN, will be known .

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