This month we have seen progress toward peace agreements in conflict zones, beginning with the Philippines and Colombia.

In the Philippines, the government and the main rebel force in Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have signed a comprehensive peace agreement after more than 40 years of violence and 17 years of difficult negotiations. In the words of the chief negotiator, "The sealing of the comprehensive agreement is important not only for the Bangsamoro, the people of Mindanao and all other Filipino citizens who have all to gain as one country pursuing its unfinished task of nation-building. It is also our global contribution to the pursuit of peace in our immediate neighborhood, the Southeast Asian region, and the rest of the world."

Readers of CPNN may have followed the progress towards the Philippines agreement in recent years. A framework agreement was reached in October 2012 and the final sections were signed in January of this year. During the years of negotiations, more and more zones became "peace zones." Two such initiatives are described this month in CPNN: the "protection site" of Lanao del Norte initiated by Nonviolent Peaceforce and the Muslim Organization of Government Employees and Professionals; and the peace schools in Manila de Bugabos initiated by Action for Conflict Transformation.

In Colombia, following almost 40 years of civil war, the government and the FARC rebels recently signed the third section of their five-part peace accords which concerns the difficult problem of illegal drugs. It was almost a year ago that the that they reached agreement on the first section concerning land. And the second part, concerning political participation and rights of the opposition, was signed last November.

As the United Nations representative in Colombia recently stated, in announcing a media program to support the peace effort, "it is not enough to disarm the guns if there is no disarmament of the minds," affirming that peace requires the support of the majority and a change of attitudes.


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The government of Colombia has been doing its part. President Santos recently inaugurated the Ibero-American Institute of Human Rights Education and announced he will reactivate the National Peace Commission, created in the 90s to promote a culture of peace, to support the peace process.

The civil society of Colombia has also done its part. Last year, CPNN reported on a National Peace Congress with representation from a wide range of social and political organizations. Also, an analysis by the Rector of the National Pedagogical University mentions contributions to the peace process by many civil society organizations, including El CINEP, Arcoiris, IEPRI, ESAP, Viva la Ciudadanía, Redepaz, MOE, Plural, and other groups working in the various regions of Colombia.

Most recently, the death of the great Colombian writer, Gabriel García Márquez, is being seen by all sides of the conflict in that country as a spur for them to complete the peace proces.

Of course, the signing of peace accords is not the end of the process. As the recent article from Nepal points out, it's been eight years since the comprehensive peace accord was signed between Nepal Government and the Maoist rebels, but it is still necessary to re-integrate refugees village by village.

We may hope that the examples of the Philippines and Colombia may inspire similar peace accords in other conflict zones. Already there are civil society initiatives underway to support a peace process for Syria and Venezuela.


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Please send us articles about the work of your organization and other culture of peace news. (see We look forward to hearing from you.

Peace, through struggle,

The CPNN Team