2016

Juan Manuel Santos

Colombia

Juan Manuel Santos took office as Colombia's president in August 2010. The conservative politician had previously been Minister of Defense and then distinguished himself by stepping up the war against the revolutionary Marxist guerrillas FARC.

The newly elected president surprisingly declared that he would try to end the civil war by peaceful means. Formal peace talks with the FARC started in autumn 2012. A peace agreement was signed in August 2016. In a subsequent referendum, the agreement was rejected by a narrow margin. Santos then invited to a broad national dialogue aimed at saving the peace process. The parties signed a revised agreement on 24 November  of the same year. Congress ratified the agreement a week later.

More than 220,000 Colombians were killed in the 52-year civil war between rebels, the government and paramilitary groups. 80 percent of those killed were civilians. Somewhere between five and seven million people were displaced from their homes. The participation of victims and their representatives, and the inclusion of their voices, is a key feature of the peace process in Colombia. The agreement put great emphasis on the need to ensure victims’ rights.

For further reading click here.