What happened with the Peace Agreement between the government and the FARC during 2016?

25th of August: The Colombian government and the FARC sign the Peace Agreement

29th of August: The definitive bilateral cease fire between the Colombian government and the FARC begins.[1]

Since 1981, Colombia has attempted 11 times to lead conversations with the FARC in the search of a negotiated peace settlement.

26th of September: The two parties ratify the Peace Agreement in Cartagena.

2nd of October: In a referendum Colombians vote “No” to the question: “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace?”. The results were “No” 50.21% against the 49.79% who voted “Yes”. The vote participation was 37.43%.[2] It is the first time that a referendum has been called to legitimise a peace agreement in Colombia.[3]

October: The “No” victory in the referendum, provokes a wave of protest marches all over the country, these marches have the objective of reaffirming support of the Peace agreement signed in Havana. Three marches that stood out were the March of Silence, The March of the Flowers and the Pacific Colombia March. [4]

13th of October: President Santos extends the cease fire with the FARC until the 31st of December. [5]

October – November: President Santos carries out a national dialogue with the “Yes” and the “NO” sectors.

12th of November: The changes in the agreement are presented in the new text. For example, the new agreement states that the magistrates and public prosecutors that form part of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) will all be Colombians and not from foreign countries, and they will be subject to the ordinary code of practice for suitability. [6] Furthermore, there are worries about changes in the agreement that could allow impunity to influence the most serious cases of human rights abuses.[7]

24th of November: The Colombian government and the FARC sign a new Peace Agreement. The ‘No” sector, headed by ex-president Uribe, keeps on opposing the agreement. The political polarisation that surrounds the Peace Agreement increases and it converts into violent acts carried out on social leaders and those that speak in favour of peace.[8]


human rights defenders assassinated in 2016

(Frontline Defenders)

1st of December: With 205 votes in favour and no votes against the new Peace Agreement is approved in the Congress of the Republic. The opposition chooses to leave the chamber at the moment of the vote.[9]

10th of December: President Santos receives the Nobel Peace Prize.[10]

13th of December: With the approval of the “Fast Track” procedure the Peace Agreement begins to be implemented. [11]

16th of December: A new entity in society, ‘Voices of Peace’, starts to exercise citizen oversight over the legislative implementation and the regulations of the Peace Agreement.[12]

28th of December: The Congress of the Republic approves, with the special legislative mechanism, the first bill of law for the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The amnesty law benefits members of the FARC who are accused of rebellion or linked crimes, and members of the state (especially members of the Security Forces) who are accused of minor crimes. With the approval of this bill of law the process of concentrating the FARC in the pre-agreed concentration zones can begin.

The end of hostilities is the beginning of the end of more than 52 years of armed conflict. It is calculated that the war has left more than eight million victims and about 220,000 deaths.


[1] El Tiempo: The emotive call of president Santos at the beginning of the cease fire, 29th of August 2016

[2] National Civil Registry, Referendum results, 2nd of October 2016

[3] CINEP: Referendum blows, Revista Cien Días, no. 89, September to December 2016

[4] El Tiempo: Agreement now! was the chant of the march for peace in Colombia, 6th of October 2016; El Tiempo: Agreement now! The slogan of the country’s demonstrations, 12th of October 2016; El Tiempo: Demonstrations for an agreement now don’t put the country on hold, 21st of October 2016

[5] El Espectador:  President Santos extends the cease fire with the FARC until the 31st of December, 13th of October 2016

[6] El Tiempo: A reflection for those who voted ‘No’ in the referendum, 17th of November 2016

[7] Colombia Informa, Reflections on the “other yes” and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), 5th of January 2017

[8] El Tiempo: The government and the FARC sign a new agreement in Bogotá, 24th of November 2016

[9] El Tiempo: The historical approval of the Peace Agreement in Congress, 1st of December 2016

[10] El Tiempo: ‘The sun of peace shines, finally, in the heaven of Colombia, Santos, 10th of December 2016

[11] El Espectador: Court approves ‘fast track’ to implement the peace agreement, 13th of December 2016.

[12]  El Tiempo: ‘Our role not only benefits the FARC, but the whole of society’ 16th of December 2016.

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