On June 7, ex-rebel group, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), laid down 30% of its weapons in compliance with its timeline agreement with the Colombian Government. The UN Mission in Colombia now has a total of 2,300 weapons stored in its containers, which represent exactly 31% of the weapons previously registered and identified by the international organization in the FARC camps. The High Commissioner for Peace and officials of the UN Mission in Colombia travelled to FARC transitional zones to deliver certificates and accreditations to the 2,230 guerrilla members who deposed the weapons. These documents will allow ex-combatants to formally initiate reintegration into civilian life. According to the timeline, the laydown process must be completed before the end of June. On June 14, another 30% of the weapons will be delivered and the remaining 40% on June 20 – ending the deposit process in the UN containers. The weapons under UN supervision and control will become the input of three peace monuments that will be located in New York, La Habana, and Colombia.
This is an important step in the process and demonstrates the commitment of FARC with the agreements. Iván Márquez, head of the FARC negotiating team in La Habana, stated that “FARC is fulfilling the word pledged and we expect the government to comply,”, and encouraged President Santos to guarantee the legal and physical security of the former insurgents. In addition, Rodrigo Londoño, leader of FARC pointed that “this is the effective beginning of our ‘goodbye’ to arms and violence,” and added, “we will never use violence again, our only weapon will be the word, we promised and fulfilled it, without regrets or tears.”
In a statement, the UN Mission in Colombia expressed “its strong support for the laying down of arms process and for the measures taken by the government in accordance with the timeline. Both factors constitute a major event that attests to the willingness of the parties to respond to the hope created in Colombia and the international community by the signing of the Peace Agreement.”
Fulfilling the laying down of arms process is the most important phase of building a long lasting peace in Colombia. The 20th of June FARC will have deposed the totality of its arsenal to the UN, approximately 7,000 weapons, reaching a no-return point in the implementation of the peace agreement. Without weapons, not only will former combatant will return to society, but FARC leaders will only use ideas, arguments, and words to participate in political life of the country. The Colombian government is expected to demonstrate the same commitment and protect former FARC members in their new political and civilian lives. Even though the peace agreement was only the beginning of a long journey, these events demonstrate that Colombia is advancing towards a new better future for its people.
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