Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Enhancing the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding

The National Conciliation Commission (NCC)

The National Conciliation Commission is an autonomous and independent entity, summoned by the President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, which began its activities on August 4th of 1995 with the following fundamental objectives:

1. To find a negotiated political solution to the armed conflict in Colombia and to propose ways of approximation between the conflicting parties and of conciliation between radicalized factions and groups.
2. To seek formulas to overcome the difficulties that hinder the encounter of the conflicting parties in order for them to begin the negotiations and thus to procure the successful development of the reconciliation process between Colombians.
3. To promote, to impel and to demand that the conflicting parties hold their conduct and their actions to the procedures of the applicable International Humanitarian Law in internal armed conflicts, while the confrontation lasts, and to reach agreements for the humanization of the conflict that widen the margins of protection of the civil population and of non-combatants.
4. To promote and demand that the human rights of the inhabitants of Colombia are observed, guaranteed and accomplished, as a way and foundation of lasting and firm peace.
5. To propose the foundations and guidelines for a permanent national peace policy, which congregates the will of all sectors and regions of the country and which transcends junctures.

6. To motivate the active participation of organized civil society in Colombia to demand, follow-up and monitor the commitments reached in the political negotiation of Peace, through the summons, accompaniment and guidance from the Permanent Assembly of the Civil Society for the Peace.

In fulfillment of its objectives the National Conciliation Commission maintains permanent contact with the National Government and with the main insurgent organizations, chiefly FARC EP and ELN. One of the fundamental objectives of the National Conciliation Commission is to promote the encounter of the conflicting parties in order to start discussions and negotiations which will lead to peace.
With its work the National Conciliation Commission has obtained the confidence of the conflicting parties, as has been demonstrated by the fact that, in several opportunities and through public manifestation, important State officials have expressed such confidence, and have sought the Commission to mediate with the guerrillas. The guerrillas have also expressed in various ways, including press releases and communiqués, their confidence in the National Conciliation Commission and the acknowledgment of its validity as counterpart and the contacts which, to the extent possible, are directly maintained with it.
The Commission also enjoys prestige and credibility from the civil society as was clearly demonstrated by the reassurance of its ability to congregate and to guide the Permanent Assembly of the Civil Society for Peace and in the repeated public demonstrations of support and confidence throughout the country.
Also of relevance is the decisive and direct support given to the National Conciliation Commission by the members of the National Guild Council and of the Labor Unions, as well as that of several presidential candidates who have attended the Commission seeking guidance and counsel for the National Permanent Peace Policy. The concept of National Permanent Peace Policy has been proclaimed by the National Conciliation Commission and has, day by day, gained the widest acceptance.
The International Community has also made encouraging and meaningful gestures of trust and confidence to the Commission, and has exalted the work of the Commission as one of hope in the road to a political solution of the Colombian conflict. One of the several expressions to be shown in that sense was the invitation to the Commission’s members from the Arias Foundation for Peace, of Costa Rican former President Oscar Arias, to attend the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Esquipulas II agreements. There the Former Presidents of 5 countries of the region publicly expressed their support to the Commission. Another example of this was the support to the Commission, to its projects, and especially to the invitation by the Commission to the Permanent Assembly of the Civil Society for Peace unconditionally given by the Spanish worker unions UGT and Comisiones Obreras during the Encounter for Solidarity and Cooperation with Colombia which took place in Spain in November 1997. Also of relevance was the support offered by the World Churches Council and by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. Very encouraging as well for the National Conciliation Commission is the constant support of the Ambassadors accredited in Colombia, as well as of that of international organizations.
During recent years the National Conciliation Commission continued its constant work in the fulfillment of its objectives, achieving some meaningful advances in its approximation to the conflicting parties and achieving a wide level of consultation with representative political, economic and social sectors of the community and attaining between these sectors consensus on procedural and substantive aspects which are considered crucial for the permanent national policy of peace, such as the negotiation even in whilst the parties are in combat, the commitment not to discontinue negotiations unilaterally, the need for the presence of the international community as impartial mediator in the process, the need to consider structural aspects of national life in the negotiation, all of which seemed unthinkable issues in the recent past. In that sense, the work of the National Conciliation Commission has had a real educational impact in the language of the peace.
The National Conciliation Commission has made a very ample promotion of its document proposal “Towards the Implementation of a Permanent National Peace Policy” which was the subject of wide national discussion, review and improvement by Colombian society, by means of the organization and celebration of 10 regional and issue related forums and of the National Forum “Towards a Permanent National Peace Policy”, carried out, with the purpose of convoking the Permanent Assembly of the Civil Society. The mentioned proposal deserved also the reflections and the comments from the Colombian insurgent groups.
Its members:

  • Monsignor Ruben Salazar Gomez
    President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, President of the National Conciliation Commission
  • Monsignor Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga
    Archbishop of Tunja
  • Monsignor Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo
    Archbishop of Medellin
  • Monsignor Pedro Rubiano Saenz
    Archbishop of Bogota, Primate of Colombia
  • Monsignor Luis Gabriel Romero
    Bishop of Facatativa
  • Doctor Augusto Ramírez-Ocampo
    Doctor in Legal and Economic Sciences, Former Minister of Foreign Relations, former Director of the UNDP for Latin America and the Caribbean and Chief of the United Nations Mission in El Salvador – ONUSAL, Constituent
  • Doctor Alfredo Vásquez Carrizosa
    Lawyer, Former Minister of Foreign Relations, Former President of the Permanent Committee of Human Rights, Constituent, University Teacher
  • Doctor Diego Uribe Vargas
    Attorney Former Minister of Foreign Relations, Constituent, University Teacher
  • Doctor Ana Mercedes Gómez Martínez
    Journalist, Director of the newspaper El Colombiano of Medellin
  • General Gerardo Ayerbe Chaux
    Former Minister of Defense, Director of the Juan Pablo II Social Studies Institute
  • Doctor. Angelino Garzón
    Former Minister of Labor, Union Leader, Former Governor, Promoter of citizen movements for peace, Constituent
  • Doctor Julio Roberto Gomez
    Union Leader
  • Gabriel Izquierdo S.J.
    Director of the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular – CINEP
  • Horacio Arango S.J.
    Director of the Faith and Culture Center
  • Dra. Maristella Sanin Posada
    Former Ministry of Labor and Health
  • Dr. J. Mario Aristizabal
    President of Conconcreto Company
  • Dr. Ernesto Borda Medina
    Lawyer, Security consultant and Political analyst
  • Dr. Juan Mayr Maldonado
    Former Ministry of Environment
  • Dr. Rodrigo Guerrero
    Former Cali City Mayor and deputy
  • Dr. Juan Salcedo lora
    Former General of the Colombian Armed Forces.
  • Dra. Patricia Cleves Saa
    Consultant in Peace and Reconciliation Processes
  • Dr. Gustavo Bell
    Former Vice President of Colombia
  • Dra. Maria Teresa Forero de Saade
    Former Ministry of Labor

    Source: National Conciliation Commission