US May Remove Colombian FARC From “Terrorist” List By End Of Month

Conflict resolution groups welcome the news of the U.S. deregistration as a step towards lasting peace in Colombia.

that of the United States planned removal rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” could occur as early as late November, an unnamed US official told Reuters news agency.

The move was first reported by U.S. news organizations on Tuesday, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a historic peace agreement between Marxist rebels and the Colombian government who ended decades of violence.

The removal of the FARC from Washington’s list of “foreign terrorists” could be implemented by the end of November or early December, the US official told Reuters.

The US State Department notified Congress on Tuesday of its plan to deregister the FARC, while the Colombian government was formally informed on Wednesday.

The FARC fought for five decades in an era of devastating political violence in Colombia, carrying out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and attacks in the name of redistributing wealth to the poor in Colombia.

The group signed peace agreement with Bogota in 2016, and in 2018 participated in a United Nations-supervised decommissioning of the last of its accessible weapons. Today, it is designated as a political party, with a guaranteed share of seats in the Colombian legislature.

The group’s removal from the US terrorist list would allow US officials to work with FARC members who are now entering private or political life, the US official said.

The official also said that the administration of US President Joe Biden intended to maintain hard-line groups made up of former FARC rebels and a second group of ex-rebels using a variant of the FARC name. on the list of “terrorist” organizations.

“It also allows us to target all tools of the US government and law enforcement to prosecute individuals who have not signed the agreement and remain active in terrorist activities,” added the official.

Despite the 2016 agreement, the violence continues in several regions of Colombia where FARC dissidents who rejected the peace agreement still have weapons and where other armed groups and drug traffickers operate.

This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – visiting the South American country to mark the anniversary of the peace agreement – lamented “enemies of peace” and called for “guaranteeing the safety of ex-combatants, social leaders and human rights defenders”.

“We must redouble our efforts to ensure the sustainability of [reintegration] projects, with technical and financial support, land and housing, ā€¯Guterres said Tuesday.

The fact that former FARC members are on the US “terrorism” list has prevented US government agencies from collaborating on development projects that include veterans, such as programs to clear landmines. or efforts to replace illegal crops like the coca leaf, said Adam Isacson of the Washington office of Latin America, an advocacy group.

Dispute resolution groups have welcomed the news of the deregistration.

“Very happy to see this step taken, which will undoubtedly facilitate the implementation of the peace agreement with Colombia,” said on Twitter Renata Segura, Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit research group. .

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