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Zones of Peace in Colombia’s Borderland

Cécile Mouly, Annette Idler y Belén Garrido (published in 2015-11-10 by Carlos Popoca )
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Published and/or Presented at:
Mouly, Cécile; Annette Idler y Belén Garrido. “Zones of Peace in Colombia’s Borderland”. The International Journal of Peace Studies 20 (1)(2015): 51-63,
Based on data from qualitative fieldwork, documents and secondary literature, this article lays the groundwork for a better understanding of “zones of peace” in Colombia’s borderlands. It builds on two empirical cases: Samaniego in the department of Nariño that borders Ecuador, and Las Mercedes in the municipality of Sardinata, Norte de Santander, at the border with Venezuela. “Zones of peace” are understood here as territories in which local communities have attempted to persuade armed actors to abide by certain rules to mitigate the effects of the armed conflict locally. We begin by briefly discussing zones of peace as local peacebuilding initiatives in the context of the Colombian armed conflict before focusing on how the location of zones of peace in Colombia’s borderlands can impinge on their emergence, evolution and contributions to peacebuilding. We find that such a location can both constitute an incentive and a barrier for the emergence, evolution and peacebuilding contributions of these peace zones. Two aspects, in particular, need to be taken into account in the study of such peace zones: their distance from the political and economic centres, which has resulted in the marginalization of these territories and their use by violent non-state actors for drug trafficking, as well as the transnationality of borderlands, which provides communities an opportunity to interact with citizens of neighbouring countries at peace.