UN expresses major concern over violence against civil society

The United Nations has released its findings over the main ongoing challenges around the reincorporation of former FARC guerrillas into civil society, a central element of Colombia’s peace process.

In a statement, the UN says that the widespread killing of social leaders in rural zones is a major concern despite the implementation of security measures. Both the outgoing Colombian government and its successor, as well as wider society, have expressed strong opposition to the violence. The statement also emphasises the importance of advancing productive projects for former FARC combatants to generate the incomes necessary to consolidate the reincorporation process.

Below is the full text of the UN press release on the findings.



Bogotá, 25 July 2018. In his third report to the United Nations Security Council on the Verification Mission in Colombia, the UN Secretary-General provides an assessment of progress in the implementation of points 3.2 and 3.4 of the Peace Agreement, as well as lessons learned and recommendations on ways to continue to consolidate peace in Colombia. Points 3.2 and 3.4 refer, respectively, to the economic, social and political reintegration of former combatants of the FARC-EP, and to security guarantees for members of the FARC, their families and the communities most affected by the conflict. In his report, the Secretary-General recognizes the leadership and determination of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leadership in advancing implementation of the Agreement.
The report, which covers the period from 27 March from 20 July 2018, highlights that the presidential elections that took place on 27 May and 17 June, as well as the legislative elections of 11 March 2018, were the most peaceful and inclusive in decades. In his report, the Secretary-General applauds President-elect Iván Duque’s stated intention, following the presidential elections, to work to bridge divisions among Colombians and reiterates the UN’s firm commitment to continue to accompany Colombia in its peace consolidation and reconciliation efforts following its many years of conflict.
A subject of continuing concern for the Secretary-General is the increase in the number of killings of social leaders and human rights defenders, and the dynamics of violence that continues to affect mainly rural areas. The Secretary-General highlights the indignation and repudiation of Colombian society against this wave of murders and stressed the importance of the “pact of rejection of violence against social leaders and defenders”, signed by President Juan Manuel Santos, President-elect Iván Duque, the most important state institutions and political parties.
The Secretary-General highlighted some progress in the measures envisaged in the Peace Agreement aimed at addressing violence in conflict zones, such as the creation of the Comprehensive Security and Protection Program for communities, organizations, social leaders and human rights defenders. of human rights, and the measures adopted within the framework of the National Commission of Security Guarantees. The Secretary General noted that these measures are in different stages of implementation and emphasized the importance of strengthening them.
On the subject of reintegration, the Secretary-General reiterated the importance of accelerating progress in the implementation of productive income-generating projects for ex-combatants. The Secretary General takes note of the decree issued on May 4 that gives access to land ownership to ex-combatants organized in cooperatives and the fact that the National Reincorporation Council has begun the process of acquiring land for six productive projects. Although the path towards the acquisition of land by ex-combatants has already been defined, the challenge is to specify the access to land for ex-combatants in the Territorial Training and Reincorporation Spaces and other settlements. The Secretary General also emphasizes the importance of closely linking reintegration activities with local development.
The report was released on Monday, 23 July, and this Thursday, 26 July, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, will present the report to the United Nations Security Council in New York.