Colombian peace process: A farewell to arms

By bogotapost July 19, 2016
Colombian peace agreement

President Santos speaking after the announcement of the agreement wight he FARC. Photo:

As negotiators in Havana make more irrevocable steps towards peace, Julia Lledín Vitos from the Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (cpdh) breaks down the details

Colombia peace agreement

23 Transitional zones / 8 Encampments

The transitional zones are territorial, temporary and transient. These defined and delimited areas have previously been agreed between the national government and the FARC.

There will be a local monitoring team headquartered in each zone, which will act as part of the overall mechanism for monitoring and verification.

TRANSITIONAL ZONE – Contains various encampments
ENCAMPMENT – The smallest sized zone, contains only one encampment

PeaceInfographics2-04Movement to the transitional zones

The day after the signing of a final agreement (known as D-day), the bilateral ceasefire and definitive end to hostilities and transitional zones will come into force.

Appropriate measures to ensure safe movement will be taken from D-day + 1, under the mechanism for monitoring and verification.

PeaceInfographics2_Construction of PeacePreparation for reincorporation and the construction of peace

Training and other activities to help FARC members to transition into society and gain their legal status (such as cédulas) will take place within the transitional zones.

The FARC will designate a group of 60 of its members to contribute at a national level to developing activities related to the peace agreement. Each of the 23 transitional zones will designate 10 of its members to participate at a municipal level.

PeaceInfographics2_Construction of Peace copyEncampments in the transitional zones

Within each transitional zone, there will be encampments (numbers will vary depending on the zone) that the the civilian population cannot enter.

PeaceInfographics2_Surrender of GunsLaying down of weapons

This is a technical, traceable and verifiable procedure which will ensure that the United Nations receives all of the FARC’s arms. Three monuments will be constructed out of the decommissioned arms.

The irregular arms will be received before D-day + 30. The rest of the weapons will be surrendered in three phases: 30% by D-day + 90, 30% by D-day + 120, and the remaining 40% by D-day +150.

All the weaponry will be stored in a container in each transitional zone, under the control of the international component of the UN monitoring and verification team.

Local authorities and communities

The full force of the law will be maintained inside the transitional zones.

The implementation of the agreement will take place without interfering with the normal operation of non-armed civilian authorities and communities.


The contents of the June 23 announcement


Announcement and dissemination

The agreement sets out a six month roadmap, beginning on the day that a full peace accord is signed (D-day). This will mark a full bilateral ceasefire and definitive end to hostilities.

Prior to any announcement, there will need to be sufficient time to set up the monitoring and verification mechanisms in the field.


Monitoring and verification

An essential mechanism for monitoring and verifying all aspects of the accord, both to build trust and to ensure compliance. The tripartite mechanism will be made up of representatives from national government (the armed forces), the FARC and an international component, primarily made up of observers from the UN and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States).

The technical mechanism will work at several levels: one national structure, eight regional ones and various local monitoring posts.

This mechanism is key to monitoring and enforcing the strict rules and protocols that will ensure that the terms of the bilateral ceasefire and surrender of weapons are not violated.


Mechanisms in the field

23 transitional zones and eight camps will be created, where FARC members will begin the process of reincorporation into civilian life.

The proper functioning of the civil authorities and communities will be maintained.

There will be a safe area of 1km around each transitional zone.

The monitoring and verification mechanism will have a constant presence. Its operation will end on D-day +180.



The security plan is based on principles of respect for life and human dignity for people and communities. To that end, the agreement contains detailed protocols to minimise threats both inside and outside the demilitarised zones, particularly relating to the movement of people and the handling of weapons and explosives. The armed forces will guarantee the safety of the civilian population throughout.



Getting the logistics right will be essential in ensuring a smooth transition throughout the six month period – from organising the movement of FARC members and ensuring supplies reach the zones to securing compliance and tracking the disarmament process. Each local body of the monitoring and verification team will have a logistics section, coordinated by the international component.


Laying down of weapons

Abandonment of arms will take place in several stages. First a process of identification and registration – in which the monitoring group will build a full picture of what weapons the FARC has. Then comes collection and storage, before finally the removal and disposal/disassembling can begin.


Assurances against criminal organisations

As part of the security guarantees needed to assure the end of the conflict, the FARC and the government announced a series of protection measures to fight against criminal organisations and paramilitary activity that may threaten peace building. These include a National Political Pact against violence, the formation of a Security Commission to monitor public policy as well as a Special Investigative Unit aimed at dismantling criminal organisations.

By Julia Lledín Vitos