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Conflict Peace CSS Blog

CSS Mediation Perspectives: Settling an Armed Conflict with a Sworn Enemy

Image courtesy of Flickr. President Santos signing the peace agreement with the FARC on 26 September 2016. Less than a week later, the deal was rejected in a plebiscite.

Mediation Perspectives is a regular series of blog contributions by the CSS Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

Intrastate conflicts are notoriously difficult to settle. In many regions of the world, from Afghanistan and Myanmar to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citizens have grown up during war, only to see their children or even grandchildren born into continued conflict. That is not to say that long-standing enemies never manage to reach a negotiated settlement. In Colombia, after more than half a century of fighting, the government reached a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) in 2016. But implementation is slow, and the state remains at war with the country’s last guerrilla organization, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN).

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Conflict Peace CSS Blog

Development of Yearly Homicide Rate in Colombia

Colombia was one of the most violent countries until the early 2000s, with a yearly homicide rate above 70 per 100,000 inhabitants. This stands in contrast to the global average of roughly six and the European average of one. This graphic provides a comparison of the development of homicide rates in Colombia between the national level, areas with previous FARC presence & illicit crop substitution areas, from 2010 to 2019.

For insights on the Colombian peace process, see CSS’ Enzo Nussio’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.

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Economy Peace

When Norms Collide: Business, Human Rights, and Economic Development in Colombia

Image courtesy of Gobierno de Chile/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 28 May 2019.

This fall will mark three years since the Colombian Peace Accord between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerrilla group was ceremoniously signed in Havana, Cuba. It was unique for a variety of reasons: it ended the world’s longest-running civil war, it was signed with the world’s oldest guerrilla group (the FARC), and—what few know—is that it is also the first peace process that explicitly includes economic actors in the truth and accountability mechanisms to help the country transition to peace.

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Security Terrorism

Rehabilitating the Children of ISIS: A Comparative Case Study of Armed Groups and Child Soldier Reintegration

Image courtesy of Dominique Pineiro/DVIDS

This article was originally published by the Small Wars Journal on 6 March 2019.

Introduction

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) routinely kidnaps, recruits, and employs child soldiers to carry out its operations. In recent years, ISIS possessed major land holdings in Syria and Iraq, and has carried influence on a global scale; however, the overwhelming international military response to ISIS’ brutality has largely driven this terrorist organization out of its formerly held territories. As ISIS members are displaced through battlefield losses, reintegration of former ISIS members remains a key challenge globally. ISIS has frequently used children as a part of its military operations, and hundreds of these children have been indoctrinated into ISIS ideology. The international community now faces a critical issue with the rehabilitation of ISIS children. This population was raised in a hyper-violent environment and has largely never been exposed or integrated into conventional society. As these children and their families flee to non-ISIS controlled areas or home countries, they pose a lifelong terrorism threat to the international community.

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Conflict Peace

A Wary Farewell to Arms for the FARC

Courtesy of bixentro/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on 9 March 2017.

When Colombians streamed to the polls four months ago to vote in a plebiscite to accept or reject a peace agreement with the country’s leading guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), opinion polls predicted a resounding victory for the accord. Many citizens and internationals expected that the world’s second longest continuous armed conflict and one of its oldest Marxist insurgencies would soon become an historical relic.

In Havana, the FARC leadership and its negotiating team sat with journalists to watch the votes come in. Once the result was announced – the accord was rejected by less than one-half of 1 per cent – the guerrilla group retired to a private meeting at which its leaders decided the loss was only a temporary setback. “The FARC-EP maintains its will to find peace”, declared FARC leader Timochenko that same day, “and reiterates its willingness to use words as the only weapon to build a [new] future”.