Photo from La Silla Vacía (Colombia). Caption: “Los guerrilleros construyen un puesto de salud para la comunidad del resguardo de Pueblo Nuevo, en el sitio que era la “recepción” de la zona veredal.”

  • The UN Security council unanimously authorized (PDF) a new political mission to Colombia. It will oversee reintegration of ex-FARC members, as well as security of ex-combatants and conflict-affected communities. It will start work on September 26, and will have a renewable one-year mandate. A good El Espectador analysis summarizes some of the main challenges the mission will face, and some of the main concerns about its role.
  • 7,400 former FARC members have now been amnestied of political crimes (sedition, disturbance, carrying illegal weapons, etc.). About 2,700 more still await political amnesty.
  • Colombia’s Constitutional Court has begun reviewing the constitutional amendment setting up the transitional justice system that will judge serious war crimes. The amendment was mandated by the FARC peace accords and passed by Colombia’s Congress earlier this year. The Court may alter or strike down elements of what Congress passed. A decision may take weeks or even months. Human Rights Watch has published suggested changes.
  • A National University of Colombia survey of 10,015 demobilizing FARC members reveals a wealth of data, much of it surprising. Twenty-three percent are women, sixty-six percent are from rural areas, and fifty-four percent have at least one child. See an overview (PDF) of the study, an infographic from Semana magazine, and an overview in El Tiempo.
  • Colombia’s government continues signing agreements with coca-growing families. These promise support in exchange for voluntary eradication of their illicit crops. Twenty-nine collective, regional accords are being translated into specific accords with individual communities. A report from the Ideas for Peace Foundation think-tank raises 10 issues that implementation of the plan so far has raised. (La Silla Vacía summarizes the report and includes responses from the Colombian government’s “crop substitution” coordinator.) La Silla Vacía also takes a look at the Catatumbo coca-growing region. It finds that farmers’ organizations are becoming divided over how to respond to the government’s offer.
  • An Oxfam study of land census data finds that 0.1 percent of farms now control 60 percent of land in Colombia.
  • FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño alias “Timochenko” is in Cuba recovering from a stroke.
  • A dissident FARC group in the southern department of Guaviare released Herley López, an official of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The group had kidnapped López in early May.