Colombian Lower House Passes Protection Bill for FARC Members

The objective of the bill is “to provide integral protection” to former FARC members and their “new political party or movement,” said an official statement.

Colombia’s Interior Ministry has released a statement announcing that the House of Representatives approved a bill establishing a protection program for demobilized members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that have reintegrated into civil society. The bill now heads to the senate for approval.

The bill, which complies with the peace accord signed between the FARC and the Colombian government in late 2016, also affords legal protection for the new political party established by the former guerrilla group.

The statement read, in part, that the project’s objective is “to provide integral protection to the members of the new political party or movement that arises as a result of the FARC’s transition to legality, as well as members of that guerrilla who reintegrate into civilian life and their families,” according to W Radio.

Guillermo Rivera Florez, head of the Interior Ministry, stated that the approval by the lower house of the new bill guarantees the government’s “commitment to the peace agreement.”

The initiative also allows demobilized FARC members “to be trained as armed guards, to be members of the National Protection Unit and to provide security services to former FARC members,” Rivera added.

To achieve this objective, the project allows the UNP to expand its personnel plan in the current fiscal period and in 2018.

On June 27, the United Nations confirmed that the FARC, the largest leftist guerrilla army in Latin America, had delivered 7,132 weapons as part of the peace process to end decades of conflict and start their transition into electoral politics.

“Today is not the end of the FARC, it’s the end of us taking up arms 50 years ago. We continue to exist through legal and peaceful means,” said Timochenko, also known as Timoleoon Jimenez, the current leader of the FARC.

The former FARC members are still waiting in 26 transition zones before they can fully return to civilian life after 52 years of armed conflict.

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