Colombia govt, FARC still undecided over military victim reps in peace talks: UN

Posted on Aug 4 2014 - 11:02am by Today News
Fabrizio Hochschild (Photo: Naciones Unidas)

Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, have yet to decide whether they will allow military victims of the armed conflict to the peace talks in Havana, Cuba, according to the United Nations (UN).

The announcement was made at a victims’ forum on Sunday in Colombia’s western city of Cali, where some 1,600 victims of violence from the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and the State were gathered to collect proposals to bring to the peace talks in Cuba, Colombia’s Caracol Radio reported on Sunday.

“On this point [military victims], it seems that there are different opinions at this moment between the FARC and the government,” said UN representative Fabrizio Hochschild.

When asked about military victims and their role in the final proposals, Hochschild regretted that the government and the FARC had “not ruled definitively on such a sensitive issue,” according to Caracol.

Hochschild went on to explain that it would be ideal for the FARC and the government to come to an agreement over the inclusion of military victims in the peace talks; however, the UN representative stressed that the focus should be primarily concentrated on civilian victims as they are the majority.

The forum, which runs until Tuesday, was also met with protests on Sunday, according to Colombia’s W Radio.

The first incident took place when FARC victims were allegedly harassed by protesters from the audience. A photojournalist was reportedly assaulted for taking pictures of the violence, which called for police intervention.

Earlier this year, both the Colombian government and the FARC admitted to being victimizers in the Colombian armed conflict, which would present a conflict of interest if members of the army — even if they were victims of human rights abuses themselves — were to participate as victims.

MORE: Military victims of FARC war crimes seek representation in Colombia peace talks

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