COLOMBIA NEWS – Being recognized as survivals, knowing the truth, and doing justice and repair are some of the coincident proposals of the victims in the Colombian armed conflict at a national forum in Cali, which enters today second day. About 1,500 delegates from 32 departments and guests from nations such as El Salvador and Northern Ireland, are attending the meeting, organized at the request of the negotiation table between the government and FARC-EP guerrilla, which seeks give voice to those affected in more than 50 years of confrontation.
‘There are no first-second-third-class victims; all are equal and should be heard,’ said political analyst Alejo Vargas, director of the Center for Thought and Peace Dialogue Monitoring at the National University, sponsoring the forum along with the United Nations in Colombia.
Delegates will work today in 30 tables and panels, in the presence of figures such as Priscilla Hayner, an expert in transitional justice and truth commissions issues, and Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of an organization network of survivors of genocide in Rwanda.
The voice of women, which according to official figures represent 80 percent of the victims of the conflict, are present in the forum, held at the Valle del Pacifico Event Center.
The president of Colombia’s Confederation of Workers, Domingo Tovar, on behalf of trade unions, stated that more than 3,500 members of that sector have been killed.
After opening the meeting yesterday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Fabrizio Hochschild stressed that ‘all victimizing events and victim sectors have been represented’ in this forum and three regional events held in Villavicencio, Barrancabermeja and Barranquilla.
The results of the meeting, to conclude on Wednesday, Aug 6, will be sent to the parties in dialogue, who will discuss the issue of the victims on August 12, under 10 principle of agreements that will include the direct participation of victims in the round-table discussions, with venue in Cuba since November 2012.