9th of April – Commemorating Victim’s Day
April 9th has become an important date to Colombia over the past years, due to Law 1448 in 2011 – also known as the Victims Law – establishing it as a symbolic day of memory and solidarity with the victims of the armed conflict as a measure of reparation. This date is a major advancement in the recognition of their dignity.
Colombia's internal conflict claimed at least 220,000 lives since 1958, and more than four of every five victims have been civilian non-combatants, according to the report of the National Centre of Historical Memory. By its side, the Unit for the Victims Assistance and Reparation has estimated a total of 8 375 000 victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.
This year, the 9th of April has a special connotation considering the signature of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and Revolutionary Armed Forces – FARC, Colombia's main guerrilla group, last year.
The signing of this document officially marks the beginning of the end of the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. The FARC agreed, after four years of negotiations, to permanently lay down their arms, disband and join the political system. This is cause for celebration for some in Colombia, however the victims’ reparation is a big challenge.
In this sense, the memory and solidarity day is not a simple claim, nor a call for sentimentalism: it is, above all, a reparative act, aimed at the reconstruction of civic trust and collective memory.