Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is to grant a pardon to 30 imprisoned guerrillas of the country’s main rebel group, the FARC, in an attempt to advance talks aimed at ending the country’s 60 year conflict.
“As part of the confidence-building gestures between the national government and the FARC, the national government has decided, based on its constitutional and legal authorities, to grant pardons…to 30 guerrillas,” a statement released by Santos said.
Santos says it’s “a gesture of building confidence between the government and the guerrillas.”
He also said that 106 other incarcerated rebels will be moved to special areas within prisons.
The president hopes to be able to reach a final deal ending the conflict by March.
The United Nations says 729 human rights activists have been killed in Colombia in the past two decades, an average of nearly three a month.
A statement released by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights’ office in Colombia says 30 activists were slain this year alone through September. It adds that 20 more have been the targets of attempted murder in 2015.