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Leuphana Student helped disarming the FARC

2018-04-27 In 2016, Ana Lozano started studying the Masters Programme in Governance and Human Rights at Leuphana Professional School. In this Interview, she explains how she helped disarming the columbian FARC at the end of the 50 years lasting civil war.

Why did you choose "Governance and Human Rights"? 

I chose this program because it combined two issues that were very important to me. On the one hand, good governance allows building more transparent, egalitarian and participatory societies who can better fight against poverty and corruption. And that is especially important nowadays, as freedom is receding in many countries. On the other hand, I wanted to know more about human rights and to gain more tools to work on their promotion and protection.

You helped to disarm the FARC. How did it come about and how did it work?

I was part of the joint Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, composed of representatives of the Government and the FARC-EP, under the coordination of international military and civilian observers from the UN Mission in Colombia. The disarmament process took place progressively since the ex-combatants entered the encampment zones in January until August 15, 2017 when the last containers full of weapons were taken to Bogotá, where they will be made into three monuments to be installed in Bogotá, Havana and New York. The UN Mission took care of the entire process, from the registration of weapons to the custody of the containers 24 hours a day. We also certified all ex-combatants who delivered their weapons so that they could obtain their accreditation as civil citizens. The process, despite some delays, was very successful and the FARC-EP showed a great commitment. It was very exciting to see how, after more than 50 years of conflict, the oldest guerrilla in Latin America decided to bet on peace and began their path to social and political reintegration.

To what extent can studying at Leuphana help you to further support the peace process in Colombia?

These master studies have helped me a lot in my daily work at the UN Verification Mission. Especially in terms of human rights monitoring and on political advocacy, which is the work that I am currently developing. Although it is hard to combine studies and work, I believe that what I have learned in Leuphana has helped me to better understand the international mechanisms for defending and protecting human rights and the importance of good governance for the development of more democratic and egalitarian states. 

How has the situation changed with the disarmament of the FARC in Colombia?

Thanks to the peace and disarmament process of the FARC, thousands of lives have been saved in Colombia. However, there is still a long way to go until the country reaches a stable and lasting peace. In addition to the FARC-EP, there are other illegal armed groups in Colombia that continue exercising violence against the population. Besides, the process of reincorporation of FARC into civil, economic and political life is suffering delays and the result of the upcoming elections generates a lot of insecurity among the ex-combatants. But above all, I believe that Colombia cannot reach a lasting peace until the victims of the conflict are properly repaired and until the government supports the development of the areas most affected by the conflict.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are to work at the Political Mission in Colombia until the end of my assignment. Afterwards, I would like to continue working on peace building and human rights protection, whether in Colombia or in another country.

Author: Marietta Hülsmann