Supporting reintegration and reincorporation in the Colombian context
Colombia has contributed to peace consolidation from the territories working closely with communities affected by violence. From the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization – ARN – we had the challenge of consolidating a policy on a national and international level, that would generate opportunities, alternatives for effective access to rights, and foster development as a society.
The process that has transformed the lives of more than 70,000 former members of illegal armed groups and their families has also been an effort of more than 19 years to consolidate an institutional framework based on respect for rights and transparent processes for citizens.
Reintegration was the first task: building a long-term process, focused on overcoming poverty to help former members – trusting in the State’s words – to face the future. Thanks to the generation of knowledge with the communities and actions for the prevention of recruitment by armed actors, their life expectancy increased by 28 years.
In Colombia, 53,080 people have participated in this public policy. 4,195 still continue in their reintegration process and more than 26,950 have completed it. A financial benefit has been disbursed to 26,558 of them to start their own businesses, and others have been given the opportunity to have a home of their own. 57% of the productive projects have been sustainable for more than seven years; 82% are legally engaged in economic activities and 94% are enrolled to the healthcare system and 86% receive psychosocial attention.
Reintegration has been supported by the private sector, academia, NGOs and other entities, and has allowed us to move forward at a faster pace in the processes for people since the signing of the Final Agreement; among these processes there is the second task: reincorporation, through which the ARN has also achieved a political commitment by building new life projects of former FARC-EP members.
We designed a normative framework: laws and decrees to establish clear principles; we strengthened dialogue and planning instances, created a road map with all the necessary guarantees to address the interests of the population: economic sustainability, habitability and housing, family care, healthcare, community work, education and comprehensive psychosocial welfare. To date, 12,800 people are making progress in their process.
Reincorporation is implemented in more than 578 municipalities, the policy has been included in more than 276 municipal territorial development plans and in more than 31 departmental development plans. 4,214 productive projects have turned 8,815 former FARC-EP members into entrepreneurs and businessmen, with investments of more than USD$23.41 COP$85,480 million from the government and international cooperation.
According to this experience, since 2019, Colombia – through the ARN – became a member of the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Training Group (IDDRTG). Participation has allowed us to provide technical assistance and demonstrate the commitment and ongoing management that we undertook in the country to provide opportunities to thousands of Colombians who make their transition to legality.