Colombia’s Congress approved a peace accord [text, PDF, in Spanish] Wednesday with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Senate and House of Representatives both voted in support of the agreement, although many voting members walked out [NYT report] before the vote took place in protest of the deal. Opponents of the agreement argue that it is too lenient on FARC’s members. The agreement allows FARC to have representation in Congress and does not allow prison sentences for those who have confessed to war crimes. FARC members will be leaving their camps and disarming under UN inspectors’ watch, although rebels have stated that they won’t start leaving until about 2,000 rebels are freed [USA Today report] from prisons. This peace accord will be ending roughly 50 years of conflict which has left over 200,000 dead.
The UN Secretary-General had welcomed [JURIST report] the deal earlier this month. In October 50.2 percent of Colombia voters rejected [JURIST report] an earlier peace deal attempt. The prior deal had been crafted after four years of negotiations and was signed [JURIST report] in September. In June the Colombian government and FARC signed [JURIST report] a ceasefire agreement. In January the UN Security Council unanimously approved [JURIST report] a resolution authorizing the creation of a political peace mission in Colombia to monitor the disarmament between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.