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The Colombian Referendum - A Failed Peace?
Sebastián Machado (Melbourne)

On 2 October, 2016, Colombians faced their most important political decision of the last 60 years: whether they approved the peace agreement signed between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and thus put an end to the longest ongoing civil war in the world. Against every poll, with little over 50% of the popular vote, Colombians decided against it. This unexpected scenario has left the effort of over 5 years of negotiation in the air and a highly fragile legal, political, and military landscape for the country.

In this seminar, Sebastián Machado discussed the history of the peace process, what considerations led to the decision to hold a referendum, the causes for its failure, the perceived tension between amnesties and human rights, and the possible scenarios that could unfold. The Colombian experience provides important lessons for any country that is attempting to end an armed conflict through pacific and democratic means.

Sebastián Machado Ramírez is a Ph.D. candidate and member of the Laureate Program in International Law at the Melbourne Law School. He was previously a Senior Advisor on International Law to the Attorney General of Colombia and a member of the governmental delegation in the Colombian peace process.