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(ARN) Reincorporation and

Normalization

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Historical Overview


The Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR), known today as the Reincorporation and Normalization Agency (ARN) was created on November 3, 2011, as a Special Administrative Unit - affiliated to the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic (DAPRE), an entity in charge of strengthening the implementation of the Reintegration Policy.

The origins of ACR go back to the Program for Reincorporation to the Civil Life (PRVC), which operated through the Ministry of Interior and Justice between 2003 and 2006. PRVC was a   Reintegration program that focused on the individual and aimed to reform and prepare demobilized people through psychosocial care, academic training and access to the national health system, in addition to the provision of a monthly economic contribution.

PRVC was distinguished for the psychosocial care, services and benefits for the demobilized people. It was a short - term reinsertion program.  This characteristic did not represent a problem at the beginning since the demobilized population was relatively small, but once the rate of collective and individual demobilizations grew, the PRVC was congested and faced administrative, conceptual and operational difficulties.

In order to respond to the requirements of the demobilization process in Colombia - particularly to the increase of people who joined it with the massive demobilization of the AUC (Paramilitary Groups) and the need of understanding Reintegration as a sustainable long - term program, the High Presidential Council for Reintegration was created in September, 2006.

The creation of the High Presidential Advisory Office for Reintegration was a milestone in the history of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) in Colombia; the Reincorporation program (short - term) evolved into a Reintegration Process (long - term) with a larger coverage and management capacity and with better tools and ability to accompany demobilized people.

Moreover, the implementation of the Colombian DDR stands out for being developed while the conflict persists, reason for which it covers two types of demobilizations: collective, which are the result of peace agreements, and individual, which are based more on a personal decision.  Additionally, unlike other countries, Colombia assumes the entire institutional responsibility of the Reintegration Process.

During its five years of existence, the High Presidential Councilor's Office focused on converting Reintegration into a State Policy. Hence, it aimed to offer opportunities to demobilized people through a customized Reintegration Route with psychosocial, education, economic, and income generation opportunity benefits with the objective of allowing demobilized people have a sustainable civil life.

The High Presidential Councilor's Office not only sought the implementation of strategies focused on Reintegration Process participants, but also on the families and communities that received them, under the conception that sustainability of Reintegration into a legal life implies not only working with the demobilized person, but also with his/her environment.

In September 2010, the new President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos, designated Alejandro Eder Garcés as the High Counselor for Reintegration, in replacement of Frank Pearl, who was the first person to occupy this position, when created by the president at the time, Álvaro Uribe.

In addition to focusing on the compliance of the national policy for Reintegration, among his responsibilities are the work coordination with other national entities and the communication of the Reintegration Process at national and international levels.

Meanwhile, Eder lead the strategic planning process focused on the new challenges of the Reintegration policy and entity reformation, which result in the creation of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration.

On November 3, 2011, the High Councilor's Office became the Colombian Agency for Reintegration in accordance with Decree 4138 and the High Counselor Alejandro Eder Garcés was appointed as General Director.

The Agency is a Special Administrative Unit with legal status, affiliated to the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic (DAPRE).

The institutional change of a High Councilor's Office into a State Agency means an advancement to guarantee the continuity and the enhancement of the Reintegration policy, because the entity now has a greater administrative, financial and budget autonomy and a solid organization structure.

With the conclusion of the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -FARC-, the Colombian Agency for the Reintegration of Armed People and Groups -ACR- had to modify its functions and structure in order to respond to the new legal mandates and the processes of reincorporation into civil life of the members of the armed group. This is in accordance with the Final Agreement for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace, signed on November 24, 2016 at the Colón Theater.

Therefore, and thanks to Decree-Law 897 of May 29, 2017, the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) was renamed the Reincorporation and Standardization Agency (ARN), and aims to "manage, implement, coordinate and evaluate, in a coordinated manner with the competent bodies, the policy, plans, programs and projects for the reincorporation and normalization of the members of the FARC-EP, in accordance with the Final Agreement signed between the National Government and the FARC-EP on   November 24th, 2016 through the Technical Unit for the Reincorporation of the FARC-EP, and the policy of reintegration of armed people and groups in order to promote peace, security and coexistence."


Milestones of Reintegration

2003 - 2006

Program for Reincorporation to the Civil Life (PRVC) of the Ministry of Interior and Justice.

2006 - September

New demands of the demobilization process in Colombia generate a crisis in the Program for Reincorporation to the Civil Life (PRVC), causing the origin of the High Presidential Council for Reintegration in September, 2006. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, president at the time, appoints Frank Pearl González as High Counselor for Reintegration.

2006

The High Council for Reintegration becomes a milestone in the history of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), evolving from a reincorporation program (short - term) into a Reintegration Process (long - term).

2008

The National Council of Economic and Policy (CONPES) produces CONPES document no. 3554, which grants the nature of State Policy to the Reintegration Process in Colombia.

2010 - September

In September 2010, president Juan Manuel Santos appoints Alejandro Eder as the new High Counselor for Reintegration.

2011 - November

The Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) is born on November 3, 2011, in accordance with Decree 4138 of the Presidency of the Republic. ACR is created as a Special Administrative Unit, with legal status and autonomous equity, affiliated to the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic. The institutional transformation of the entity strengthens and develops the Reintegration Policy in Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos appoints Alejandro Eder as the first general director of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration.

2012 - June

The first participant in the Process concludes his Reintegration Route.  At the end of the year, a total of 812 demobilized people had successfully concluded their Reintegration Process.