On Friday 24 January, the United Nations Security Council released the following statement on the Colombian peace process and the ongoing violence targeting community leaders and human rights defenders in the country.
New York, 24 January 2019. The members of the Security Council reiterated their full and unanimous support for the peace process in Colombia and shared the assessment of the Secretary-General set out in his 26 December 2018 report on the work of the United Nations Verification Mission.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their deepest sympathy and condolences to all those affected by the terrorist attack at the Police Academy in Bogotá on 17 January 2019. They condemned the attack and reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
The members of the Security Council underlined the critical opportunity to consolidate peace, and reiterated the significance of the end of the armed conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). They welcomed efforts by President Duque’s government to advance implementation of the peace agreement over the past three months. They expressed hope that the “Peace with Legality” plan issued by the Government would deliver a wide-ranging effort to secure, stabilize and develop former conflict areas affected by insecurity, drug trafficking and violence, and noted the importance of coordinated efforts of institutions and initiatives within and beyond the Peace Agreement. They echoed the Secretary-General’s call for quick work to translate this and other plans into effective action in the areas most affected by conflict.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern about the persistent pattern of assassinations of community and social leaders, with seven verified murders of such leaders since 1 January 2019. They stressed the importance of swift action on the ground, including, in this regard, through the “Action Plan for the Protection of Social and Community Leaders, Human Rights Defenders and Journalists”. They welcomed the Government’s decision to convene the National Commission on Security Guarantees established under the peace agreement, which brings together state institutions and civil society, and underlined the importance of collective approaches involving the combined extension of security and civilian state institutions into vulnerable rural areas, as well as individual protection measures. The Members of the Council also reiterated their concern at continued killings of former FARC-EP members, and noted the need for preventive and protective measures to ensure the safe participation of their candidates in local elections for the first time in 2019, as well as those of all parties.
The members of the Security Council encouraged the parties to accelerate efforts to secure the full political, legal, and socioeconomic reincorporation of former FARC-EP members, including through continued work by the National Reincorporation Council (NRC). They welcomed recent progress in the approval and funding of productive projects and encouraged continued momentum in ensuring access to land and markets. They encouraged timely decisions on the future of the Territorial Areas for Training and Reintegration, to help provide greater certainty to and reinforce the confidence of former FARC-EP members in the peace process.
In this regard, the members of the Security Council reiterated the need for full respect for the independence and autonomy of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, and underlined the importance of political and practical support in order for it to achieve its objective of guaranteeing the rights of victims. They also expressed their support for the Commission on Truth, Co-Existence, and Non-repetition, whose role is essential for the establishment of truth and reconciliation.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the first meeting on 16 January 2019 of the High-level Forum on Gender, responsible for implementation of the gender provisions of the Peace Agreement. They looked forward to its continued work, in particular to reinforce the reintegration of female former FARC-EP members and the security guarantees for women leaders.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to working with Colombia to progress in implementation of the peace agreement in order to secure a lasting peace. They appreciated the complementary efforts of the United Nations Verification Mission and Country Team to support Colombia’s efforts. They also stressed the importance of the international community remaining closely engaged to support and encourage implementation.
The members of the Security Council thanked the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jean Arnault for his outstanding contribution to the peace process, and welcomed Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.