After decades suffering an armed conflict, Colombia finally ratifies the peace agreement between FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the government.
The United Nations has confirmed that the FARC has delivered 7,132 weapons as part of the peace process to start their transition into politics.
The group’s representatives and the government have been attending a disarmament ceremony in the Mesetas, around 250 kilometers south of Bogota.
The rebels’ leader Rodrigo Londoño, also called Timoleon Jimenez, or Timochenko, and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos were present.
Timochenko told FARC fighters they were “yesterday militants of the people’s army, now militants of the hope of the people.”
The FARC leader said the group had honored their word and complied with the peace deal, and they expected the state to do its part, demanding an end to political persecution.
Timochneko also denounced paramilitary violence which continues to harm the group as well as the deaths of human rights activists who have been murdered since the peace agreement was signed.
Six months after the signing of the Amnesty Law, he said many FARC members are still in jail. Only 832 of the 3,400 FARC prisoners have received amnesty. Hundreds of them have started a hunger strike to demand the implementation of this part of the agreement.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos told the audience at the ceremony “We are no longer a story of pain and death, we are one people and one nation, advancing towards the future in democracy”. He added that “Today is the day the weapons were changed by words.”
Santos said the disarmament signifies the end of decades of war that affected millions, and the international community will see through the implementation of all aspects of the agreements. He said both sides still need to comply with several aspects of the deal.