This report is based on data collected as part of an original self-administered survey conducted with individuals who are currently going through or have been through the ARN’s reintegration process for National Liberation Army (ELN) defectors, ex-combatants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army (FARC-EP) who demobilized before the peace agreement, and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). This survey took place between May and September 2022 thanks to the cooperation agreement established between MEAC and the Reincorporation and Normalization Agency (ARN by its Spanish acronym) in Colombia; MEAC is grateful to the ARN for its collaboration in this work.

The survey was rolled out with all current and former reintegration process participants who have active contact information on file with the ARN with respondents who were located across the country. The survey inquired after their conflict experiences and their transitions into civil life, economic situation, personal security, psychosocial vulnerabilities, and support networks. This report compares some of the experiences of former rank-and-file combatants and former mid-ranking commanders, that may affect their transition to civilian life.

These findings may be useful to government, UN, and NGO partners working to address conflict and build peace amidst the changing landscape of insecurity and vulnerability in Colombia. The report ends with an examination of key policy and programmatic implications of these findings.

Citation: Javier Cárdenas, Cristal Downing, Sofía Rivas, Juanita Vélez, and Siobhan O’Neil (2023) "How Rank Affects the Transition to Civilian Life: Lessons from the Reintegration Process in Colombia", UNIDIR, Geneva,