UN Security Council statement on human rights crisis in Colombia

The United Nations Security Council has expressed full support for the Colombian peace process in a statement that also called for urgent action to tackle widespread killings of social activists. It follows the presentation to the Council by the Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, who said that high levels of ongoing violence represented a serious threat to the peace process.

In its statement, the UN Security Council highlighted a number of positive developments, such as the ongoing commitment of FARC members to peacebuilding and reincorporation and the increased participation around October’s elections.

The Council said increased measures were required to dismantle paramilitary and other armed groups and for the security of FARC members. It also called for all areas of the peace agreement to be fully implemented.

Read the full UN Security Council statement below.

New York, 15 January 2020 . The members of the Security Council reiterated their full and unanimous support for the peace process in Colombia and reaffirmed their commitment to working closely with Colombia to make progress in implementation of the Final Peace Agreement.  They welcomed both parties’ continued commitment to implementation of the Final Peace Agreement as it moved into a fourth year, and strongly supported the complementary efforts towards this end by the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia and country team.  They further welcomed President [Iván] Duque’s most recent expression of support for the continued and ongoing work of the Verification Mission.  They stressed the importance of the international community remaining closely engaged to support and encourage implementation of the Agreement.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the inclusive and comparatively peaceful local and departmental elections in October 2019, with participation by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) political party.  They underlined the central role of Colombian authorities at all levels and from across the political spectrum, including newly elected local authorities, in implementation of the Final Peace Agreement, including the development programmes with a territorial focus, which have progressed with strong Government leadership and community participation. They encouraged the Colombian authorities to continue to promote inclusive development as an important element of stable and lasting peace.

The members of the Security Council expressed their serious concern over reports of grave security conditions in several of Colombia’s departments, and continued threats, attacks and killings targeting community and social leaders, including those from indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations, and former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) members. They called for those responsible to be brought to justice, and for effective action to improve security, including through extension of integrated civilian and security state presence to conflict-affected areas. They welcomed the recent meeting of the National Commission on Security Guarantees, and looked forward to its ongoing work towards developing, in partnership with civil society, a public policy to dismantle illegal armed groups, including measures to prevent and respond to their recruitment of children.  They urged the finalization and implementation of the action plan of the “Intersectoral Commission on Security for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders”.  They welcomed Government measures to strengthen protection for former FARC-EP members and encouraged extension of these measures to informal settlements of former FARC-EP members.

The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of implementing all aspects of the Agreement, including rural reform, political participation, countering illicit drugs, including crop substitution programmes, and transitional justice.  They encouraged full use of mechanisms established for this purpose, including through continued dialogue between the parties to the Agreement.

The members of the Security Council noted the potential opportunity presented by national dialogue stemming from recent protests to engage diverse sectors in building consensus around implementation of the Final Peace Agreement, including women’s organizations, indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups, environmental groups and youth.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the agreement of a reintegration road map and progress in the approval of income-generating projects and provision of basic services for former FARC-EP members.  They further welcomed the continued commitment of the vast majority of former FARC-EP members to the peace process and urged acceleration of efforts to secure their full socioeconomic, political, and legal reintegration, focusing on outstanding issues of accreditation, land for income-generating projects, and the needs of women former combatants and those living in informal settlements.

The members of the Security Council welcomed continued progress by the three components of the Integral System for Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Non-repetition, with the participation of victims.  They reaffirmed their full support for the critical role of these components in the peace process and stressed the need for them to be able to work independently and autonomously.