The Colombian congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a peace deal with leftist rebel group FARC, helping bring to an end a 52-year deadly conflict and setting into motion a 180-day demobilization and disarmament process.
The revised agreement passed the lower house 130-0, though some members of the 166-member chamber walked out in opposition to the deal ahead of the vote. It passed the senate earlier this week. Another version of the deal was rejected in a plebiscite on October 2. The new accord does not require popular approval.
According to USA Today:
As the New York Times reports:
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According to Reuters, the government is now “ready to speed the passage of laws and reforms so it can carry out a peace deal…pending approval from the constitutional court.”
FARC rebels “said they would not begin demobilizing until parts of the accord, including an amnesty law for most fighters, are approved by lawmakers,” the news agency continued. “The government hopes the court will allow those laws to move ahead more quickly than normal by cutting the number of required debates.”
The Associated Press further reports:
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said “[t]he official end to a bloody armed conflict that has lasted for more than 50 years and has left some eight million victims in its wake is an achievement that cannot and should not be underestimated.”
“However,” she added, “much of the horror Colombians have been forced to endure for decades has often not been directly linked to direct combat between the security forces and the FARC. Those working away from the spotlight, defending rights or protecting natural resources and territories from powerful economic interests continue to face harassment and deadly attacks. So the peace agreement in itself may do little to keep these activists safe. What they need is effective action to ensure those behind such attacks face proper justice.”
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