ContactPartner Area

Constructive social dialogue a powerful tool in the coming peace process

CNV Internationaal is optimistic about the ecently signed peace treaty in Colombia. After more than 50 years of armed conflict, the tide in Colombia truly seems to be turning. The various parties are working on sustainable peace. CNV Internationaal and its Colombian partner organisations believe that constructive social dialogue is a powerful tool in the coming peace-building process. Civil society organisations, trade unions, employers and the government must all be involved in this dialogue.

The involvement of local communities is one of the main challenges for a successful peace process. After all, the general population has been the main victim of the armed conflict, but it has hardly been involved in the peace process up to now - women even less so than men. Entire rural population groups are structurally excluded. However, CNV Internationaal and its Colombian partner organisations emphasise that a strong strategy of integral rural development is an important condition for building peace.

Redress for individual and group victims

Additionally, acknowledgement of and redress for victims will be essential in the peace-building process. Acknowledgement, not only of individual victims, but also of groups of victims, such as trade union organisations. Trade union leaders were structural targets of threats and assassination attempts on many occasions during the armed conflict. This is in part the result of ongoing smear campaigns executed by guerillas, paramilitary groups, the government and employers.

The role of the Netherlands

Of course we also envision an important role for the international community in this peace process, and therefore for the Netherlands. This involves political and financial support on the one hand, and the joint responsibility for the careful handling of people and the environment in the trade and investment relations with Colombia on the other.

In concrete terms, this means that CNV Internationaal, together with its Colombian partner organisations, will push for compliance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD guidelines.For these guidelines describe the obligations of governments - known as the duty to protect - and the responsibilities of companies, which are known as the responsibility to respect. Furthermore, they also determine that victims must be able to get redress.

CGT and CNV International are realizing the project Enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of trade unionists in Colombia conducted with support from the European Union. The contents of publications are the sole responsibility of the CGT and under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the views of the European Union.

Publication date 05 09 2016