While today’s Nobel Peace Prize announcement importantly acknowledges Colombia’s considerable efforts to end its 50-year civil war, the future of the agreement and more importantly, the future of the Colombian people is now in question. As last Sunday’s referendum demonstrated, Colombians are divided on the agreement and whether it would have delivered the peace, security and justice they so desperately desire. Whether Colombians voted “yes” or “no” – or did not vote last Sunday – all Colombians are concerned about their futures and where the country will go from here.
As efforts continue to resolve this crisis, the voices of the conflict’s victims must not be sidelined. Years of negotiations rightly included the victims of the conflict, and their continued participation must be respected. Their participation does not stop at the negotiating table. The UN Mission should also labor to work with the victims of violence and displacement as it carries out its duties at this delicate time. The voices of Colombia’s most vulnerable must be heard now and in the future as the country seeks stability and peace for all.