Leftist guerrilla organisation announces political movement will officially take off on September 1. The agreement signed by FARC and the government in November became a historic milestone in overcoming over half a century of conflict in Colombia.

FARC commanders Ivan Marquez (L) and Carlos Lozada at a press conference in Bogota announcing their political plans. July 24, 2017.
FARC commanders Ivan Marquez (L) and Carlos Lozada at a press conference in Bogota announcing their political plans. July 24, 2017.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC ) on Monday announced their plans to launch as a political party on September 1 as the group transitions into civilian life.

The move came as part of a historic peace agreement signed in November to overcome an armed conflict that lasted over half a century.

"We will publicly launch the party on September 1 in the Plaza de Bolivar," in Bogota, guerrilla commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told AFP after a news conference by the leftist group, almost a month after it completed its disarmament.

The peace accord allows the FARC 10 unelected seats in Congress through 2026 and grants amnesty to the majority of ex-fighters. Rebels convicted by special courts of human rights violations will avoid traditional prison sentences, instead performing reparations work such as removing landmines.

The group has not yet announced which of its members will fill the congressional seats or the new party's name, but will hold meetings before the launch to fine-tune its policy proposals, Lozada said.

"In the coming days we will focus on not just the names but above all and fundamentally the proposals," he added.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, second left, and FARC top commander Rodrigo Londoño, third left, greet the baby of a rebel couple during an act to commemorate the completion of the FARC disarmament process in Buenavista. June 27, 2017. (AP)
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, second left, and FARC top commander Rodrigo Londoño, third left, greet the baby of a rebel couple during an act to commemorate the completion of the FARC disarmament process in Buenavista. June 27, 2017. (AP)

An uncertain future

UN envoy Jean Arnault told the council last month that the FARC were struggling with "a deep sense of uncertainty" over their physical safety and their future after the disarming.

Ensuring that the former combatants can join mainstream society is the "first and most urgent challenge" in Colombia, he stressed.

FARC, which was founded as a peasant rebellion in 1964, has fought more than a dozen governments.

Latin America's longest-running conflict caused at least 250,000 deaths, left 60,000 people missing and displaced more than 7 million.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for reaching the deal with the FARC.

Source: TRT World