OEFR Researcher, Alex Amling presented her research project on ex-combatants in Colombia experience with disarmament, demobilization, and the reintegration process at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research project conducted focus-group interviews with a number of female and male ex-combatants from different armed groups in March and April 2017. One of the biggest concerns of these ex-combatants was maintaining their own and their families’ safety against potential retaliation. This often required concealing their past membership.
The ability to successfully reintegrate was also affected by the socio-economic status of the ex-combatants and their position within the broader culture. Overall, these findings suggest that while the disarmament of armed groups typically leads to a reduction in violence, it may not provide security for all members of the population. This is particularly important as the experiences of ex-combatants from previous processes are relevant for the ongoing peace process with the FARC.