WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
30 Jan 2014 | Video

Conference: Perspectives on Colombia’s Peace Process and Opportunities for U.S. Engagement

Panel 1: The State of the Colombia-FARC Peace Talks

Fifteen months after the formal start of talks, the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas are now negotiating the third of six agenda items. Meanwhile, the country is entering an election campaign season in which peace is a principal issue. Do we have reason to be optimistic that an accord will be reached in a timely fashion? What obstacles remain to be dealt with? What are some of the principal arguments of the dialogues’ opponents? Is the United States playing an appropriate role as talks proceed? Are there any ways in which the U.S. government could be playing a more constructive role?

Adam Isacson, Senior Associate, WOLA

Ariel Ávila, Fundación Paz y Reconciliación
Virginia Bouvier, U.S. Institute of Peace
Senator Juan Fernando Cristo, President, Senate of Colombia

Panel 2: Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, and Civil Society Perspectives on Peace

Most of the conflict’s victims are women, Afro-Colombian, or indigenous, but these groups are underrepresented among the negotiators in Havana. Colombia has a vibrant organized civil society. How are principal representatives of these sectors viewing the talks? What is their critique, and what do they recommend? Do they have recommendations for the United States?


Gimena Sanchez, Senior Associate, WOLA

Marino Córdoba, National Association of DIsplaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES)
Danilo Rueda,  Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP)
Yamile Salinas, Institute for Peace and Development Studies (INDEPAZ)

Panel 3:The U.S. Role in Consolidating Peace

If Colombia reaches a peace accord, a new set of challenges will emerge. How can the United States, by far the largest donor nation to Colombia, help the country to meet these challenges? How should assistance be reoriented in the post-conflict? How should U.S. political engagement be reoriented in the post-conflict? What types of assistance or engagement would be most appropriate for U.S. agencies to provide? How should U.S. agencies and legislators be preparing today for this reorientation?

Joy Olson, Executive Director, WOLA

Rep. Iván Cepeda, Congress of the Republic of Colombia
Fr. Francisco de Roux, Jesuit provincial in Colombia
Rodrigo Uprimny, The Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia)