The initiative

The Truth Commission is a State entity that pursues the clarification of the patterns and explanatory causes of the internal armed conflict to meet the victims’ and society’s right to truth, promote the acknowledgement of the events, coexistence in the territories and contribute to laying the foundations for non-repetition, through a broad and plural participation process to build a stable and lasting peace.

It was created within the framework of the Final Agreement for the End of the Conflict and to Build a Stable and Lasting Peace, signed between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army FARC-EP, through Legislative Act 01 of 2017 and Decree 588 of 2017. This is a temporary and extra-judicial mechanism pertaining to the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition – SIVJRNR, to learn the truth about what happened in the framework of the armed conflict, to contribute to the clarification.

According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 550,000 people have been forced to leave the country to protect their lives in the context of the Colombian armed conflict: to leave the territory for a “non-place” in the collective imagination, outside the borders. The Truth Commission recognises the place of the exiled population and the victims abroad, understanding Colombia outside of Colombia as a territory equal to the 10 macro-territories in which the work is carried out inside the country.

Based on the objectives and mandate of the Truth Commission, the international macro-territorial team has focused its work on investigating and contributing to the clarification of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL), or other situations that caused forced displacement abroad and exile; the collective responsibility of the actors in the face of these facts and the reason for their actions; the contexts that explain forced departure into exile; the patterns that define it; the processes of forced migration and their dynamics at different times; the impacts of exile in its different dimensions; the elements that can be incorporated into the processes of Recognition; and the factors or conditions that must exist for Coexistence and Non-Repetition, from the perspective of exile, refuge and return.

Collaborative networks, or Nodos, were installed in five regions:

  • Europe: Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and Ireland.  
  • North America: The United States and Canada. 
  • Central America: Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. 
  • Andean Region: Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
  • South America: Argentina, Brasil, Chile and Uruguay. 

For the Commission, the contribution of the victims in exile is fundamental and it has conducted this mission in order to get closer to them, to create bonds of trust and to generate a favourable environment to include this story of a country that had to be developed far from home. This has been done taking into account an ethnic approach that recognises the particular dynamics of forced and pendulum migration, and the differentiated impacts on Afro-Colombian, indigenous, binational, and peasant communities. This is evident in the border areas where there has been massive displacement.

Decalogue on the Truth Commission in its Macro International – Victims Abroad and Exile

Blog by Commissioner Carlos Martín Beristain: “A Colombian suitcase. The experience of the Colombian exile and the Truth Commission”