The March deadline agreed last December for attaining peace in Colombia came and went.

Substantial progress however was made during the month of May in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP delegations, underway in Havana since 2012.

The March deadline agreed last December for attaining peace in Colombia came and went.Those trying to bring an end to the armed conflict dating back more than 50 years that has left some 300,000 people dead, signed two major agreements which seems to bring a definitive peace closer.

At Havana’s Convention Center On May 12, the two sides announced a special agreement that, if approved by the Colombian Congress, would on signing lend legal guarantees to the peace agreement.

The new accord is based on a series of complementary institutional and democratic mechanisms that ensure a “fast and safe” passage for the process, the two delegations said in the joint declaration.

These mechanisms include the constitutional rights of governments to peace as outlined in Article No.3 of the 1949 Geneva Convention concerning humanitarian international law, which stipulates the rules to be complied with by the parties involved in armed conflicts.

If passed, the agreement would ensure a legal framework for everything agreed in Havana, and put an end to the conflict by making the building of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia possible.

After its possible approval, the new instrument would allow Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to sign and announce the final agreement reached and to ensure that its terms are respected in due time in order to prevent a similar conflict from taking place again.

Both the government and the rebel forces have called the agreement a boost for the peace talks and a way towards attaining a definite bilateral ceasefire and the laying down of arms by the guerrilla forces. These two controversial points are still being discussed in Havana.

The two sides consider the agreement signed on May 15 a big step forward.

President Santos called it “historical agreement” that permits to get minors out of the war.

When announcing the text, representatives from the two sides said the agreement fully protects young people’s human rights, including their safety and access to education, health and a dignified life and will prevent them from getting involved in the armed conflict again.

Similarly, it plans to design a comprehensive program to benefit children and young people who left the guerilla forces over the past few months, with the objective of giving them an active participation in their communities.

Upon signing the agreement, the FARC-EP committed to stop recruiting people under 18 years old, to provide the information available on those who have left their camps, and coordinate their leaving according to the plan.

Meanwhile, the Colombian government is working with international organizations such as UNICEF and the Carter Center, among others, to create a commission to guarantee that their reintegration into society is as effective as possible.

The involvement of international organizations is also manifested in the mechanisms agreed to guarantee legal protection for the final deal.

In the eyes of the world this provides a statutory basis for the process that the two parties have been developing to bring peace about.

The end of this process seems closer thanks to the significant process made in May.

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