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Recommendations for Action
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

• Real peace-building in Colombia requires the participation of the victims of the armed conflict and its consequences. The government should look for ways to include civil society more directly, especially when peace talks get to the final point on the negotiating agenda: victims.

• The Colombian government should continue to search for ways to include civil society in the peace process. The creation of the Conversation Table, an online platform through which citizens and civil society organizations can submit proposals to be considered by negotiators and the working groups convened by UNHCR and the National University is encouraging. However, the government of Colombia should do more to include civil society, and organizations representing internally displaced people and refugees, in the peace process.

• The Colombian government should be particularly attentive to protecting community leaders from targeted violence during the peace negotiations. Protecting returned communities from attacks by groups opposed to land restitution is crucial for ending the displacement crisis.

• The 2010 Victims Law was a significant victory for survivors of the armed conflict, but it contains some serious flaws. Under current interpretation of the law, victims of paramilitary successor groups are not eligible for assistance. A better reading of the protections and rights included in the law would offer assistance, but not reparations, to victims of groups who succeeded paramilitary groups. The U.S. government should encourage the Colombian government to adopt and implement this interpretation.  

• The international community should not decrease their presence in Colombia prematurely if the peace process is successful. Instead they should seek opportunities to ensure a durable peace. UNHCR’s Transitional Solutions Initiative should be fully funded and supported by the U.S. and others. The Initiative seeks to permanently integrate displaced people who do not wish to return to their place of origin into their new communities. 

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