On January 23, 2004, the government of Colombia officially invited the OAS to verify and accompany its efforts to implement a peace agreement with illegal armed actors in the country. The OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (OAS/MAPP) was created with the objective of providing a broad and flexible accompaniment of these efforts. It has participated in all of the "Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration" (DDR) activities aimed at demobilizing armed structures like the paramilitary "Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia" and the Guevarista Revolutionary Army, and it has also accompanied victimized communities.
From the beginning, the OAS Mission has documented the peace process in Colombia, making it more visible, and highlighting the challenges and achievements of the process through one of its primary tools for disseminating Information--the quarterly reports that the Secretary General presents to the OAS Permanent Council.
To get an idea of the dimension of the peace process: in the first two years alone, the Mission verified the demobilization of 31,651 members of paramilitary groups and the turning in of 18,002 weapons (13,734 rifles). But, the peace process is much more than the dismantling and demobilization of armed groups. It implies a great effort on a number of fronts that must be supported simultaneously in an integrated fashion. These include processes for reintegrating the former combatants into society and working with the communities that receive them. And this, of course, implies community peace-building efforts.
Major efforts must also be made to strengthen transitional justice systems aimed at giving hundreds of thousands of victims access to truth, justice, and...