8639th Security Council Meeting: Colombia

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10-Oct-2019 01:42:52
Colombia’s peace-consolidation efforts need firm support as former guerrillas plan to take up arms again, special representative tells Security Council at 8639th meeting.

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Foreign Minister Cites ‘Transformative’ Land Reforms amid Efforts to Curb Competition over Drug Trafficking, Illegal Mining

The international community should maintain firm support for those working hard and successfully to consolidate peace in Colombia, in light of the announced plans by some former combatants to take up arms again, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in that country told the Security Council today.

“It is now more important than ever to support the women and men who remain resolutely committed to peace and to transforming their lives and those of their families and communities,” said Carlos Ruiz Massieu. Presenting the latest 90-day report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia (document S/2019/780), he said that, two years after former guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) laid down their arms, the vast majority of ex-combatants remain committed to the Agreement to End Conflict and Build Peace, with many engaged in reintegration projects.

He went on to emphasize the “swift and categorical rejection” of the recent rearming announcement by some former FARC-EP commanders, while highlighting important achievements by the Government of President Iván Duque in consolidating peace, particularly in reintegration activities and planning for local elections due in three weeks. He urged the Government to release adequate funding for reintegration and to ensure Government programmes reach all former fighters and their communities.

Attacks against former FARC-EP combatants continue, however, and more must be done to ensure their security, as well as that of vulnerable civil society leaders, he reported, stressing also the need for action against criminal networks. He welcomed the joint declarations signed by 12 political parties in rejection of violence ahead of the elections and encouraged all parties to continue to work together to that end.

Welcoming the appearance of 10 former FARC-EP commanders before the Special Jurisdiction to seek forgiveness for kidnappings, he stressed the importance of the Peace Agreement’s truth and reconciliation provisions. Comprehensive implementation of the final accord is vital to ending recurring violence, including in the areas of rural development and political participation, he said. That can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together, he added.

Alongside the combined efforts of the Government, the FARC political party and Colombian society, support from international partners and a unified Security Council are instrumental to consolidating peace, he stressed, adding that the Verification Mission and the United Nations country team pledge to continue doing their part.

Council members then took the floor to welcome Colombia’s efforts towards full implementation of the Peace Agreement, while calling for increased efforts by the Government to reach all eligible ex-combatants and to strengthen security for them and for civil society leaders in rural communities. Delegates condemned recent killings, as well as the announced intention to rearm by some former FARC‑EP commanders, while reaffirming overall progress towards consolidating peace in the country.

France’s representative said the response to the rearming announcement demonstrated the resilience of the peace process, as did the signing of the National Pact for Political Culture and Non-Violence by political parties.

Delegates also expressed strong support for the role of the United Nations Verification Mission, while underlining the importance of Colombian ownership of the entire peace process in the successes achieved thus far.

Equatorial Guinea’s representative hailed Colombia as an example of what a determined people can do to overcome violence and help Council carry out its mandate.

The Russian Federation’s representative stressed the importance of maintaining national leadership of, and responsibility for, the peace process.

Others, including the representative of the United States, hailed the hospitality Colombia extended to migrants from Venezuela, while still others expressed support for the country’s coca-eradication and crop-substitutions programme.

Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, affirmed the report’s view of his country’s progress, its strong commitment to the peace process and the challenges it faces. Describing land and territorial reforms as transformative, he said many other Government efforts are exceeding the requirements of the Peace Agreement, calling attention to plans for the protection of human rights defenders and social leaders, as well as special security protections ahead of the upcoming elections.

Condemning all attacks and killings, he said the Government is working to address what the main drivers of such violence — intensified competition for control of drug trafficking, illegal mining and other illicit activities. As for the rearming announcement, he described it as a flagrant violation of the Peace Agreement, concurring that it revealed strong support for the accord among more than 90 per cent of former combatants. They stand committed to reintegration and reconciliation with the Colombian people. Vowing to “bring down the full weight of the law” on spoilers, he declared: “Colombia will not flag in its determination to build peace.”

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Peru, Dominican Republic, Germany, China, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Poland, Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. and ended at 11:43 a.m.

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