Colombia Reports

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As Colombia’s government and FARC rebels appear to be nearing a conclusion to the peace talks, citizens are increasingly supportive of the talks, according to a survey carried out by Gallup.

When asked whether they believed that the peace talks would lead to a deal which puts an end to the armed conflict with the FARC 52% of those interviewed in November this year responded positively.

This shows a huge rise in optimism from June 2015 when 62% answered negatively and only 33% positively.

Optimism over peace talks with FARC

According to conflict monitor CERAC, June 2015 was the most violent month since the peace process began in November 2012, with the FARC killing 16 people.

Now rising support may be due to the promising development of the transitional justice deal, signed by the State and the FARC on 23 September and outlining the punishments for war crimes.

Although figures of support have risen since earlier this year, optimism is not at its highest level since the beginning of the peace talks.

This November 60% of those surveyed said that they believed engaging in negotiations with the FARC was the best way to solve Colombia’s guerrilla problem, risen from only 46% support in June 2015.

However, the highest level of support for dialogues instead of the military offensive option came in June 2014, according to Gallup, with 70% agreeing that negotiations were the best solution.

Negotiations vs. military action

Despite wavering confidence in the efficacy of negotiations, there has always been a higher proportion of people who agree that the government should have initiated talks with the FARC. June 2015 showed the lowest percentage of those who agreed, 54%, but this figure rose in November to 69%.

Agreement with talks

In spite of increasing confidence in the talks with the FARC, 73% Colombians continue to be pessimistic about whether a deal would bring an end to ideological violence in the country. This may be due to remaining threats of neo-paramilitary groups, guerrilla groups such as the ELN and members of the FARC who do not demobilize.

An incredibly important part of the peace deal will be justice for the victims of the conflict, including reparations and restitution of the land.

When asked whether they were willing to pay taxes to contribute to the victims reparation fund, 55% replied that they were willing to contribute. This shows a slight increase from August when only 53% were willing.

Willingness to pay for victim compensation

Earlier this year only 50% of those surveyed by Gallup believed that the government would be able to return stolen land to victims who have been displaced due to the violence. The figures have steadily grown sine then and in November 56% said they believed the government would be able to reunite victims with their land.

Confidence government will return stolen land

The growing trends since the signing of the transitional justice deal show that support for the peace talks could continue to rise as Colombia approaches 23 March 2016, the date proposed for the signing of the final peace deal.

Peace talks have been taking place in Havana, Cuba since November 2012 in order to resolve the 51-year-long conflict which has left over 260,000 Colombians dead and over 6 million displaced.

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Colombia Reports