We asked human rights defenders we accompany in the Magdalena Medio region about the peace agreement, how they think it will change the situation in Colombia, what their expectations and hopes are once peace is signed with the FARC, and what the risks are that exist in the regions.
Irene Ramirez, Peasant Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley’s
The peace agreement changes our expectations as family farmers and helps us to strengthen peace initiatives that we want in our region. It changes in the sense that it helps us to have more peace of mind, for example, and in our area, to be able to stay on the land without fear, to also help strengthen the farming economy, because this peace would help us to be more committed to the land, to the territory; and the Government should also be more committed to the farming community to strengthen agricultural production and the considerable support that we could begin to manage.
The risk for our regions is that the ELN remains in the territory, and they still have not joined negotiations, which is why it is necessary that we as farmers feel encompassed by the peace which we need to start working.
Eulises Porras Rojas, Magdalena Medio Victim´s Association
Expectations are very high, everyone is longing for peace of mind, to be able to progress their lives freely in the regions, longing for the different proposals agreed between the Government and the FARC; the Colombian people long for it because they cannot live under the heel of violence any more. The risks will be sizeable because there will always be people or sectors who are against peace.
Ivan Madero, Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights
The agreements reached will allow for a constitutional reform to enable their implementation. This means that the Colombian population will have the opportunity, in some way, to resolve social problems.
Our great expectation as Colombians is for the war to end, for the beginning of the end to the conflict. But it doesn’t stop there, there is a bigger expectation, and that is a real end to the confrontation, which means we also need a negotiation with the ELN guerrillas and the dismantling of paramilitarism.
If, after the signature of the negotiation process with the FARC and the Government, the armed actors do not lay down their weapons, and do not enter a negotiation process to end the conflict, the war will continue.
An important event subsequent to the signature is the referendum, which will be by a popular vote proposed by the Government; the FARC are proposing a consultation. Whether it is one figure or another, what is important is that Colombians take part in a referendum and say YES, because it is the great hope that Colombia will live in harmony, tolerance, respect for human rights and guarantees for participation, for political participation. One of the expectations is for a vote we all need to take part in, and give our YES to the parties.