Reintegration of Combatants in Colombia

Colombia has suffered a century of extreme violence, which has left profound scars of mistrust, retribution, and social marginalization. In this climate, ICRD has been working to integrate a framework for social reconciliation into the efforts of the Government of Colombia’s Agencia para la Reincorporación y Normalización (ARN) to improve the sustainable reintegration of former combatants into society and reduce the driving factors for recruitment into criminal activity. The framework has been based on input from local faith leaders, from Indigenous faith leaders to Evangelical Christian pastors, on the shared values underpinning reconciliation. To date, ICRD has trained over 50 female religious peacemakers in conflict analysis and reconciliation practices who, in turn, have trained 300 more advocates for reconciliation in eight conflict-impacted regions. ICRD has also hosted dozens of local community workshops with faith leaders – from the diversity of religious practices in Colombia – and government leaders in three pilot regions, focusing on pluralist peacemaking and reconciliation, and launched locally-designed pilot engagements on reconciliation with communities and reintegrating combatants.

ICRD’s next step in this project is to conduct reconciliation between demobilized fighters and victims of violence, and pair them together to conduct reconciliation activities in communities slated to receive large numbers of former combatants. Finally, the generation of new employment opportunities will greatly increase social acceptance and facilitate the disengagement of former fighters from criminality and conflict.