The aspirations to achieve peace and reconciliation in Colombia were at the center of proposals in three regional forums on the situation of the victims of the armed conflict that has affected that South American nation for the past five decades.
The last of the three meetings took place over the weekend in the northern city of Barranquilla following the request of the bargaining table between the government and the guerrillas in order to hear those affected by the conflict.
Another two forums were held in Villavicencio and in Barrancabermeja also to collect proposals to enrich discussions on the issue by the parties, which will hold another round of talks August 12 in Havana, Cuba.
The Barranquilla forum collected proposals based on justice, the no repetition of the events, physiological attention programs for minors and the setting up of centers to assist women victims of sexual violence.
The victims of the conflict insisted in setting up truth commissions to find out all that has happened all these years and to guarantee that such actions will never occur again. This was the claim of members of indigenous communities, women, youths, African descendants, displaced people, and relatives of the disappeared, victims of massacres, homicides, and extrajudicial executions.
In his closing remarks of the forum, the UN resident coordinator in Colombia Fabrizio Hochschild stressed the large participation of women which, according to official statistics, represent nearly 80 percent of the victims. For Hochschild, reconciliation guarantees the non-repetition of the events and the lasting end of the conflict.
The regional forums, organized by the United Nations and the Center to Follow up of the Peace Dialog at the National University of Colombia, preceded a national meeting to take place August 5 and 6 in the city of Cali.
The delegations of the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces-People's Army (FARC-EP) recently issued a joint communiqué announcing their agreement on a mechanism for the direct participation in the peace process of those persons affected by the conflict, who would attend five stages of the peace talks.
The Colombian government and the guerrillas set up a bargaining table on a five-point agenda and they have thus far reached accords in three points: the integral rural development, political participation and the solution to the illegal drugs issue.
It is of the upmost interest of Colombian society, Latin American and Caribbean nations that the South American nation finds a way towards internal peace, which will favor current regional integration efforts for development.