Chief Whip for the SNP asked a series of questions on Colombia in the British Parliament. Here they are below with the replies from Alan Duncan, the current Minister responsible for Colombia.
15 January 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the Colombian Government in (a) progressing peace talks with the ELN, (b) extending the bilateral ceasefire and (c) dismantling the economic, political and military structures of the paramilitary groups.
We supported the temporary ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced in September and provided techincal support to the Colombian Government’s negotiating team. The ceasefire ended on 9 January. We condem the subsequent attacks carried out by the ELN against civilian and military targets on 10 January. The UN Security Council has called for both sides to prevent a return to conflict.
12 January 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart on (a) offering a date-specific official invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to visit Colombia and (b) ensuring that the mandate of the UN mission to Colombia with regards to the monitoring the human rights situation is maintained.
We encourage the Colombian Government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to visit Colombia.
At the request of the Colombian Government, the UK led negotiations which resulted in UNSC resolution 2377. The resolution establishes the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to monitor and verify the implementation of the Peace Agreement with the FARC. I support the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia, which monitors the human rights situation and works closely with the UN Mission. On 20 December 2017, I announced that the OHCHR would be included in a package of additional UK support to the Peace Process in Colombia.
10 January 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what technical support the UK Government is providing to the Colombian Government to ensure the establishment of the proposed Truth Commission in that country.
The UK is the biggest contributor to the UN Trust Fund, which provides support to the Truth Commission. Through the UN Office for Human Rights in Colombia, we also provide financial support for projects to enable victims to participate in the Peace Agreement’s truth, justice and reparation process, which includes the Truth Commission.