Colombia’s President Juan Manual Santos announced on Aug. 27 that his government has begun “exploratory talks” with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The move is seen as a first step on the road to possible formal peace talks in a bid to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency.
The FARC has been trying to topple successive governments since 1964.
For nearly five decades, Colombians have a paid a heavy toll as a result of fighting between the main players in the conflict - the leftist FARC rebels and government troops and right-wing paramilitary groups, which began laying down their arms from 2003 onwards.
Following are some facts about the humanitarian cost of the conflict.
* Nearly 4 million Colombians have been forced to flee the homes to escape violence as part of the conflict since 1997, according to government figures. Colombia is home to one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world.
* From 1982 to 2007, nearly 15,000 civilians were killed as part of the conflict, according to Colombia’s semi-autonomous National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation.
* There are more than 51,000 names of people missing in Colombia on the state national register.
* The Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines estimates that if the conflict stopped today, it would take 10 years to clear the country of landmines.
* Nearly 3,800 civilians have been injured and or killed by landmines since 1990, of which 959 have been children, according to government figures.
* Thousands of women and girls have suffered sexual abuse, including rape, at the hands of armed groups and, in some cases, state security forces. In a landmark ruling in 2008, Colombia’s constitutional court concluded that “sexual violence against women is a habitual, extensive, systematic and invisible practice in the Colombian armed conflict”.