We asked Danilo Rueda about the implications of the peace talks for our partner organisation, Justice and Peace, and the people it represents:
What is the role of Justice and Peace (J&P) in the peace talks?
We are an expression of civil society supporting State victims and victims of armed conflict. Nobody knows yet how civil society will be allowed to participate in the talks between the FARC guerrillas and the government.
What we are trying to achieve is to ensure that participation mechanisms are put in place and that civil society’s proposals are listened to and debated in the space of the negotiations.
How will the peace talks affect your organisation and the communities that you work with?
The talks will be important to strengthen citizens' understanding, to include communities’ voices on land and environmental protection in humanitarian and peace initiatives, and to promote their proposals for a Truth Commission.
What is J&P’s position regarding the negotiations?
Dialogue and a non-military solution is the best way out of the conflict, which has its roots in social, economic and political exclusion.
The negotiations should allow basic agreements and rights not just for armed groups to make the transition from war to civilian life, but also to allow the voices of all victims and communities to be heard.
Opening dialogue does not create peace in itself, but it is a start and opens the scene for political and, hopefully, economic agreements, too.
What is J&P's hope for the negotiations?
We hope for a bilateral ceasefire so that communities can express and mobilise themselves freely. We hope for greater civil society participation in public policies in favour of citizens' rights.
How do the people and communities that you work for see the peace talks and what do they expect from them?
Some are sceptical as they suffer the effects of bombardments, militarisation, economic blockades and crossfires.
Others hope that the process will allow them to participate, to present their proposals and to receive answers to their demands for truth. They hope that the talks will show respect for their land, development and environment.
Which do you think will be the biggest challenge to achieve peace?
The biggest challenge will be for those with economic power to give up in their endeavour to accumulate money. For example, it will be a challenge for multinational companies to accept new rules for their investments and for the army to lose their privileges.
It will be difficult to achieve the right to truth and justice for the victims of State crimes and socio-political violence, and to gain greater access to information so the voices of victims can be heard.