Colombia war victims to be heard in FARC peace negotiations



As Colombia’s government and the guerrilla group FARC negotiate an end to 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia victims have been waiting for their turn to participate.

Representatives of victim’s group are expected to arrive in Havana on Saturday to speak during the peace talks that resumed in Cuba this week. What will be the role of the victims, and who is going to Havana?

Sixty Colombians will be chosen by the United Nations and Colombia’s National University to represent more than 6.2 million registered victims of Colombia’s armed conflict. The first group of 12 will arrive in Havana, Cuba on Saturday to discuss compensation for those killed, displaced or other hardships suffered through the years. But all this has not been without controversy. With 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia has had victims of not only Marxist guerrillas but also right winged paramilitaries, and even Colombia’s National Army. There has been much debate of who should be represented.

Clara Rojas was a victim. She was kidnapped and held hostage for six years by the country’s largest guerrilla group, known as FARC. The now congresswoman stresses the importance of the victims going to Havana. The victims chosen will present testimonies of how they have been impacted by the armed conflict.

Experts say this participation is historic.

The unprecedented move by Colombia means many controversies could arise along the way. For now, the debate has only begun on whether Colombia’s military forces, police and even the armed guerrillas groups can also be considered victims of this armed conflict. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.