WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Protecting Peace: Progress and Challenges for the Full Implementation of the 2016 Colombia Peace Accords

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Holeman Lounge, The National Press Club 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045

(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)


The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) cordially invites you to:

WOLA’s Annual Colombia Peace Conference 

A little more than a year ago, Ivan Duque was sworn in as president of Colombia after running a campaign predicated on making changes to the historic 2016 peace accords between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This conference will assess the implementation of the peace accords under the Duque administration, with a focus on the security situation, alarming recent attacks against social leaders, the challenges posed by efforts to address coca cultivation in the country, and the progress made on critical aspects of the accords such as truth, justice, and reparations for the conflict’s 8 million victims. Panelists will also discuss the challenges posed by the many criminal groups operating in Colombia, the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, and opportunities to fully implement innovative sections of the accords that differentiate Afro-Colombian, indigenous, women, and gender perspectives. 


Event Details:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

9:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.

Holeman Lounge, The National Press Club

529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045


Opening Remarks:

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli

Director for the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA

9:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Panel 1: Security and Implementation Challenges and Opportunities

Three years after the accord’s signing and one year into the Duque administration, this panel will analyze the progress and challenges in the implementation of the peace accord. The panelists will take stock of armed-group activity, the new challenges associated with Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, and whether the Colombian government is meeting the accord’s plan for increasing state presence in rural areas.



Ariel Avila

Deputy Director, Peace and Reconciliation Foundation (Fundación Paz y Reconciliación, PARES) 

Christoph Harnisch

Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, Colombia

Luis Eduardo Celis

Advisor, National Network of Regional Programs for Peace and Development (Red Nacional de Programas Regionales de Desarrollo y Paz, Redprodepaz)

Socorro Ramirez

Retired Professor at the National University of Colombia, Former Colombian Government Peace Negotiator in ELN Peace Talks   



Lisa Hauggard

 Executive Director, Latin America Working Group, LAWG 


Break: 11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


11:30 a.m – 1:15 p.m.

Panel 2: Truth and Justice for Victims, Ethnic Minorities, and Women

Truth and justice can help guarantee non-repetition of conflict, which is why participants in this panel will recount the progress made on transitional justice, clarification of responsibilities, and reconciliation for victims. The panel will focus on iconic cases: the 2002 Bojaya massacre and the 2008 Soacha extrajudicial killings. Panelists will then assess the implementation of Colombia’s innovative inclusion of ethnic minorities and women in the transitional justice process, and what the U.S. and the international community can do to ensure its success. Panelists will interpret the wave of attacks on social leaders and other phenomena that threatens the consolidation of the peace process. 


 Xiomara Balanta 

Vice President, Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, JEP)

Jacqueline Castillo Peña

President, Mothers of False Positives (Madres Falsos Positivos, MAFAPO) 

 Fr. Sterlin Londoño

Vicar, Diocese of Yuto, Chocó Department 

Marco Romero

Director, Human Rights and Displacement Consultancy (Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento, CODHES)



Viviana Krsticevic

Executive Director, Center for Justice and International Law, CEJIL

Lunch: 1:15 p.m.- 2:15 p.m.


2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. 

Panel 3: Implementing Rural Reform and Curbing Coca Cultivation

The Colombian government is moving toward restarting a controversial U.S.-backed aerial herbicide spraying program in coca-growing areas, which has been suspended since 2015. The panelists will discuss the implications for Colombia’s compliance with peace accord commitments to crop substitution and rural reform in these territories. Further, the panelists will explore alternatives to addressing the coca challenge, such as ethnic minorities making use of the Ethnic Chapter to build alternative economies and other options that the international community can support.


Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno

Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

Álvaro Arroyo 

Youth Leader, Black Communities Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN)

 Adam Isacson

Director for Defense Oversight, Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA



Coletta Youngers

Senior Fellow, Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA


Closing Remarks:

3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Adam Isacson

Director for Defense Oversight, Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA



*Spanish to English translation will be provided. A full live stream of the event will be available here.