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Truth Commission: Colombia reveals report on internal armed conflict

The Truth Commission revealed on Tuesday the first official document in which it attempts to reconstruct the internal armed conflict that Colombia for more than five decades after the signing of the peace agreement between the State and the extinct guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

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According to the Final Report, which does not have judicial force, the conflict worsened especially between 1996 and 2008 when 75% of the victims occurred, the majority belonging to the civilian population. The figures of the victims revealed by the Commission show the magnitude of what happened: 50,770 people kidnapped, 121,768 disappeared, 450,664 murdered and 7.7 million forcibly displaced.

“We bring a message of hope and a future for our broken nation… we bring a word of listening and feeling to the victims, of listening to those who have accepted ethical, political and criminal responsibilities… to stop the tragedy of a conflict in which 80% of the victims were non-combatant civilians,” Father Francisco de Roux, president of the Commission, said at the event.

The document includes recommendations to the State and society to prevent a repetition of the crimes against humanity that were committed during the conflict and in which various armed actors participated.

President-elect Gustavo Petro attended the event and promised to comply with the Commission’s recommendations from the beginning of his government on August 7. “The approach to the truth cannot be considered a space for revenge… it has to be seen as the possibility of reconciliation. I think that one of the climates that has been created from these changes in politics by decision of the citizens is the climate of peace,” Petro said in the auditorium of the Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Theater in front of hundreds of attendees.

Outgoing president Iván Duque, a critic of the peace agreement, did not attend because he was on an official trip to Portugal. In his representation was the Minister of the Interior, Daniel Palacios.

For Humberto de la Calle, who was the government’s chief negotiator in the peace process, Colombia has the challenge of taking on the report from a broad perspective in which society understands that there is not a single “truth”, but multiple “truths”. Views from different angles.

“One thing is the mother who lost a child in Bojayá, another who lost her in the Chinita massacre, but I would like both of them to come to understand that their visions are true, but that here there was a conflict with many perpetrators and that it is the possibility of living with these truths is what I trust will be the great step that the Truth Commission will give us,” De la Calle told The Associated Press.

The Truth Commission is an extrajudicial body that began its mandate in 2018 and since then has heard the stories of the armed conflict from more than 30,000 people from all sectors in individual and collective interviews, analyzed reports and contrasted that information in order to to produce the report.

Source: Elcomercio

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