Peace Brigades International – PBI Colombia greets the signature of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with great enthusiasm, and congratulates Colombian civil society, victims and human rights organisations for the tireless work they have done for decades to build peace in Colombia, searching for a negotiated end to the armed conflict and for their numerous contributions to the peace agreement.

PBI has always advocated in favour of negotiated solutions to conflicts, and whilst the signature of the agreement is not the only condition for building peace in Colombia, it is an important, essential and historic step in the path to lasting peace.

PBI calls for the effective implementation of the agreement in its totality, for which it is fundamental to put in place mechanisms to monitor the human rights situation in the country.  It is important for the mechanisms that verify the implementation of the agreements to guarantee oversight by civil society.

Attention must focus on the need to protect and ensure the safety of communities and human rights defenders who are attacked because of their work, and who could face grave risks in the coming months and years of transition.

It is necessary and important for the international community to monitor the human rights situation in Colombia, paying particular attention to the work of human rights defenders and recognising their fundamental role in building peace and democracy.  Attention to the victims of the conflict is a priority, as is the satisfaction of their rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.

There is a need for a genuine and effective dismantling of the neo-paramilitary structures in all their dimensions, as a basic condition for moving forward in road to build peace.

Lastly, an historic step was taken in Colombia to reach the end of an important part of the armed conflict, and to keep moving down that path. PBI reiterates its hope that the dialogues announced by the ELN commence as soon as possible to reach an agreement.

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...it is an important, essential and historic step in the path to lasting peace.