Questions in Irish parliament on peace and human rights in Colombia

Issues of peace and human rights in Colombia continue to be raised in the Irish parliament. TDs and Senators have submitted several questions to the government. You can review the questions and responses below.

Matt Carthy TD, Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Defence (Sinn Féin), 14 February 2024

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his engagement with the Colombian Minister for Defence regarding Irelands support for the Colombian peace process; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Micheál Martin TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Fianna Fáil)

I had the opportunity to meet with Colombia’s Minister for Defence, Ivan Velasquez, during my recent visit to Colombia on 10-11 January.

Ireland’s continued support to peacebuilding in Colombia was the key issue discussed in a rich and engaging encounter. This included hearing Minister Velasquez’s perspectives on the ongoing peace dialogues in Colombia. We spoke of the current dynamics in the dialogue process with the Estado Mayor Central, in which Ireland is acting as a guarantor country, and we agreed on several peace-related issues on which Ireland and Colombia can continue to exchange lessons learned from our respective peace processes. Minister Velasquez also stressed the need to address the underlying causes of conflict in Colombia, including land reform and inclusion of marginalised communities.

I was pleased to inform the Minister of Ireland’s commitment to enhancing our support to the implementation of the 2016 Agreement and the Total Peace dialogues in Colombia, including by increasing our funding for Colombia to over €5 million in 2024, primarily in support of peace.

Minister Velasquez and I also discussed ongoing police cooperation between our jurisdictions and exchanged views as to how this can be further progressed. In this vein, we also discussed approaches to tackling organised crime and drug use, and agreed to continue to deepen cooperation in this area. This includes building on the work to date of Ireland’s Garda Liaison Officer attached to the Embassy of Ireland in Bogota.

I was pleased to share information with the Minister regarding policing reform on the island of Ireland, Ireland’s consent-based policing model.

In addition, we exchanged experiences on models of citizen engagement, and on approaches to improving the inclusion of society in policy and decision-making.

I was also able to discuss many of the above-mentioned points in a meeting with the two Vice Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Francisco Coy and Elizabeth Taylor Jay, as well as in a separate meeting with the Chief of Staff and other senior officials from the Colombian High Commission for Peace.