Colombian opposition criticises new FARC deal

Colombian opposition criticises new FARC deal
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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They say it is still too lenient on those guilty of serious crimes and want it ratified by another referendum, not voted by Congress as is the plan.

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Members of Colombia’s opposition have criticised the fresh peace accord between the government and FARC rebels.

They say it is still too lenient on those guilty of serious crimes and want it ratified by another referendum, not voted by Congress as is the plan.

The new peace accord will be signed on Thursday.

The signature, announced by President Juan Manuel Santos, will bring a formal end to the country’s 52-year civil war a step closer.

The details

The revised document will be signed in Bogota between FARC leader Rodrigo Londono and Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to end the conflict with the insurgent group.

The government published the revised peace deal last week in a bid to build support after the original draft was rejected in an October 2nd referendum.

There were objections it was too favourable to the rebels.

Santos and Londono signed the original deal two months ago in an emotional ceremony before world leaders and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Modifications

The expanded and highly-technical 310-page document appears to make only small modifications to the original text, such as clarifying property rights and detailing more fully how the rebels would be confined in rural areas for crimes committed during the conflict.

The context

The government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been in talks in Havana for the last four years.

They have been hammering out a to end a conflict that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions in the Andean country.

Criticism

The decision to ratify the revised accord in Congress instead of holding another referendum will anger members of the opposition.

Former President Alvaro Uribe spearheaded the push to reject the original accord.

He wants deeper changes to the new version, for example rebel

What they are saying

“We have the unique opportunity to close this painful chapter in our history that has bereaved and afflicted millions of Colombians,” – President Juan Manuel Santos said in a televised address.

“The main thing is that the government must not give in to impunity, drug trafficking,” – opposition senator and former president Alvaro Uribe

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