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Himmelspforten Agreement, July 15th 1998

Translated from German

Agreement reached at Kloster Himmelspforten

The representatives of Colombian civil society, the ELN and the National Peace Committee assembled here under the auspices of the German and Colombian Bishops’ Conferences


1. To begin peace negotiations with the ELN.

Participation of civil society:

2. To recognise the permanent right of civil society to participate, and in so doing, reach the ultimate objective of the peace process.

3. To invest more effort in appraisal of and proposals for peace-related topics, through which structural or partial changes in the lives of the population can be aimed at.

4. To organise meetings with the various sectors in order to consolidate progress in the peace process.

5. To cultivate the projection of the spirit of this document to the government and the continuation of peace measures with the support of the international community.

6. To organise meetings between the government and the commanders of the E.L.N. and the E.P.L.. And, at the same time, to organise a meeting between the signatories of this agreement with the commanders of the P.A.R.C.‚ the C.G.S.B and other participants in the war. In this connection, the meeting between newly elected president Andrés Pastrana and the commanders of the F.A.R.C. is welcomed as a valuable step for the future of the peace initiative.

7. To place ourselves at the disposal of the large national movement inspired by the Mandate for Peace which has appeared all over the country in the desire to see an end to the war. This we do by supporting the strengthening and consolidation of such developments as the Civil Society Permanent Assembly for Peace (Asamblea Permanente de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz).

8. That civil society should become mediators and talk with the government, demanding adherence to political guarantees and civil liberties which are constitutionally protected in every part of the country.

The Humanisation of the War:

9. That the acts of war and massacres of the civil population that are financed by the various sectors are to be condemned. These are increasing due to a readiness to look away and through the actions of some state officials.
10. That the ELN will suspend the kidnapping or detaining of people for financial gain to the extent to which they are able to gain by other means a sufficient availability of resources and on the condition that other means of making sufficient money available to the ELN are found, provided that the realisation of the peace process by such means does not result in their strategic weakening. In addition, from today, it will refrain from detaining minors or persons of over 65 years of age, and in no case will it deprive pregnant women of their freedom.
11. That moves to abolish the exemption from punishment for crimes against humanity such as enforced disappearances, massacres, genocide and torture should be supported in line with the international laws on these subjects.

12. That attention is to be given to making sure that, in line with UNO concepts, the validity period of regional law does not extend beyond the end of the legislative period. Moreover, it was stressed that the law must quickly recover its efficiency, swiftness, impartiality and procedural guarantees.

13. To support the organisation and intervention for the defence of their legitimate interests and needs of those who have been forced into exile and we particularly support the safe return, and, if necessary, the appropriate conveyancing of their lands and property, their entire development and the development of their regions.

14. That in order to protect them from armed attacks, there is to be collaboration between the leaders of civil society, the coordination of the Procuradoría General de la Nación and the ombudsman’s office on the identification and marking of all goods protected by the international human rights experts (DIH), such as:

Water pipelines and dams

- Schools

- Health centres for people and for animals

- Hospitals

- Medical supply centres for the
Civilian population

- Ambulances, fire fighting and first-aid vehicles

- Civilian vehicles, ships and planes not used for military purposes

- Hygiene campaigns for people and for animals, or social campaigns

- Centres for education, sport, culture, recreation and religion

- Infrastructure of the electricity supply for the civilian population

- Installations containing dangerous forces, e.g. water under pressure or nuclear material.

15. The ELN again confirms its one-sided adherence to the recommendations for guerrillas made by Amnesty International in its 1994 Annual Report on Colombia. Confirmed adherence to recommendations, as follows:

A. Humane treatment of prisoners, the injured and those wishing to surrender; irrespective of whether they are civilians or members of the armed forces, their lives must be spared.

B. Deliberate and arbitrary murder of non-combatants is forbidden under all circumstances.

C. Prisoners are not to be used as hostages. Prisoners are to be identified, they are to be released unharmed and in good health.

D. No mines to be used for the killing or deliberate mutilation of civilians.

E. Cases of rape reputedly carried out by guerrilleros are to be investigated in order to identify those responsible.

F. Guerrilleros suspected of committing, or of ordering the committing, of rape are to be relieved of all authority and any duties which might enable them to repeat such abuses.

16. Respect for the autonomy, religion, culture and the right to neutrality of the Indian communities and other ethnic groups and the areas where they live is to be supported by all armed groups and other involved parties.

17. Civil society and the ELN once more affirm their promise to respect the rights of children, and this organisation is to use no children under 18 years of age in its military forces. In future, age at entry is to be 18.

18. Ratification by the Commission was prompted by the Ottawa agreement on the banning of landmines. In addition, assurances have been given that no landmines will be laid in places where civilians, and particularly children, could be endangered. We also demand observance of the ban on the bombing of civilian property and civilian areas.

19. At the conference it was remarked that prisoners and detainees of the guerrillas must be handled with humanity and respect for their dignity and rights as political prisoners. Non-prosecution of social protest is supported.

Natural Resources:

20. The signatories to this agreement will promote the implementation of a broad forum within a National Convention in order to discuss the problem of the sovereignty over natural resources, including oil, and with the purpose of proposing changes to the Commission and to the government which would be politically and legislatively advantageous for the people. This forum will take place in a region whose demilitarisation will be requested of the government in advance. During implementation, the ELN will desist from sabotaging pipelines, acts for which the organisation has thus far been solely responsible.

The National Convention:

In view of the positive results of this meeting we further agree to the convening of a national Convention for the purpose of achieving peace and social justice, the spread of democracy and the consolidation of national sovereignty within the following parameters:

By National Convention we understand a process with various discussion phases, and with the authority to make proposals granted to participating representatives of state, society and guerrillas.

It is intended that the Convention lay the groundwork for a political agreement on reforms and social changes with regard to the democratisation of the state and society. Its implementation will be carried out with the help of essential administrative or legal mechanisms, and even via the organisation of a national constituent assembly.

The National Convention is to promote the participation of representatives of the state and receive the guarantee of the national government, for which the National Peace Council, in its role as government advisor, should act as mediator.

The F.A.R.C. and the entire Coordinadora Guerrillera are to be invited to participate in the National Convention and to support its objectives.

The largest possible representation of participants is important though the current group participating in the Mainz meeting will be taken as basis and constituted in the preparatory committee for the National Convention. For this purpose an operations Committee is to be formed.

Both regional and national preparations are required for this National Convention.

The preparatory committee must organise the National Convention by the 12th of October 1998, at the latest.

The National Convention will then decide on decision-making procedures and other aspects of its function.

On the agenda of the Convention will be topics such as the determination of basic principles for the transformation of the necessary social, economic and political structures by means of concerted action. Amongst other things, this must allow for full observance of human rights, social and economic justice, political democratisation, the sovereignty of integration and internationalisation and the role of the armed forces in a peaceful country.

The National Convention is to take place on Colombian state territory, in a zone where a mutual ceasefire is observed and the necessary guarantees are to be given to all participants.

During the progress of the National Convention, participants are called upon to seek achievements of greater significance to the cause of peace, such as a ceasefire or putting a stop to offensives by the conflicting parties on national territory.

21. The signatories to this agreement commit themselves to its planning, support, evaluation and observance, as well as to involving other representative sectors of Colombian society in this work. We would also like to express our very particular thanks to the Bishops’ Conferences of Germany and Colombia for their hospitality and the warmth and cordiality with which they have taken up this mission.

The following persons signed this agreement on July 15th 1998 in Würzburg, Germany:

Family name of the father, family name of the mother, forename/s____________

AbeIlo, Aída – Chairperson of the “Union Patriótica” (Communist Party)
Alvarez Gardeazábal, Gustavo – Governor of the province Valle del Cauca
Angarita Figueredo, Hernado – National Peace Council
Beltrán, Pablo – Commander of the ELN
Bernal, Ana Teresa – Director of Redepaz
Bernal Cuellar, Jaime – Procurador General
Berrío, Nelson
Cabal, Jaime Alberto – President of Acopi
Caicedo, Jaime – Communist Party
Carillo, Cesar – Trade union leader
Castro, Msr. Luís A. – Archbishop of Tunja
Castro, José Fernando – Ombudsmann
Garzón, Luis Eduardo – Trade union leader
Gaviria, Carlos – Constitutional Court judge
Gómez, Ana Mercedes - Director of “EI Colombiano” newspaper, Medellín
Gómez Mario - Veeduria Ciudadan
González Posso, Camillo – Mandate for Peace
Hernández, Milton – Commander of the ELN
Hernández, Hernándo – President of the USO (trade union federation)
Izquierdo, P. Gabriel – Ex-director of Cinep
Martínez, Father Jorge – Colombian Bishops’ Conference
Marulanda, Eugenio – President of Colfecar
Molano, Alfredo – Sociologist
Moncayo, Victor – Rector of the Universidad Nacional
Moreno´, Samuel – Senator
Picón Antonio - Fenalco Antioquia
Pretelt de la Vega, Sabas – Chairman of Fenalco
Ramirez Ocampo, Augusto – Conciliatory Commission
Restrepo, Javier Dario – Journalist
Rias, José Noé – Government advisor
Rueda, Maria Isabel - Journalist
Rufz, Carlos Alberto
Santos, Francisco – from the daily newspapers El Tiempo and País Libre, Bogotá
Santos, Juan Manuel – Political leader
Umaña Luna, Eduardo – University Professor
Valencia, León – from “Socialist Renewal” movement (renovación socialista)
Vargas, Alejo – Vice Rector of the Universidad Nacional
Vasquez, Juan – Commander of the ELN
Villegas, Luís Carlos – President of ANDI (business association)
Visbal, Jorge – President of Fedegan (cattle breeders association)

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