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Colombia: Continued violence against indigenous communities “is a special concern”


Former FARC fighters working the land.

The special representative of the Secretary General in Colombia considered this Wednesday “unfortunate” that, more than six years after the signing of the Peace Agreement, “the violence generated by illegal armed groups against communities, social leaders and former members of the FARC-EP”.

“The continuing violence against indigenous leaders and communities, such as the Awá, and Afro-Colombians, such as the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, both in the department of Nariño, where the implementation of ethnic provisions of the Final Agreement is of particular concern, is of particular concern. an imperative”, declared Carlos Ruíz Massieu before the Security Council.

Massieu indicated that while the Government evolves to reduce violence within the framework of its “total peace” plan and implements “a new approach to human security”, the need for “coordinated implementation of the provisions of the Agreement on security guarantees.”

“I am confident that the steps taken recently by the National Commission for Security Guarantees will allow us to move towards that objective,” wished the special representative who, at the beginning of his speech, expressed “his absolute condemnation of the attempted attack against the vice president (Francia Márquez , present at the meeting) reported yesterday”.

Peace and justice must go hand in hand

Regarding the progress of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, the set of mechanisms to guarantee the rights of victims in the Agreement, he highlighted that the first resolutions issued by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace constitute “a step decisive towards the first sanctions, which could be issued this year.”

“As the Secretary General pointed out, the recommendations included in these resolutions, constructed in a dialogic process in which victims and those appearing participated, clearly illustrate that peace and justice can and should reinforce each other,” he recalled.

The next round of government-ELN talks will be in Mexico

Massieu recalled that the Government and the National Liberation Army completed the first round of peace talks in Venezuela last month in a climate that he described as “constructive”, and indicated that a next round of talks is planned in Mexico in the coming weeks

A decision that he affirmed “has broad support in Colombian society, and is especially valued by the communities affected by the conflict in several regions.”

Regarding the announcement of the six-month ceasefire with several illegal armed actors that President Gustavo Petro announced for the new year, he indicated that “if they are carefully designed and carried out with commitment, these de-escalation measures can help to significantly reduce the violence and suffering of communities affected by the conflict, while fostering confidence in the nascent dialogue processes”.

Before beginning the session on Colombia, the Council unanimously approved a resolution that broadens the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in the country to include the comprehensive rural reform provided for in the peace agreements and the ethnic chapter in its tasks of verification, which will make it possible to increase their contribution to peace.

The Government advances towards the consolidation of peace

“The new Government has taken steps that attest to its determination to move towards the consolidation of peace in Colombia, highlighted the Secretary General of the United Nations in his most recent report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, which covers the period between September 27 and December 26, 2022.”

“I am pleased that the comprehensive implementation of the Final Agreement is at the center of their efforts”, says António Guterres.

The head of the UN described as “encouraging” the contacts between the Government and rural communities and the subsequent agreement reached with the Federation of Ranchers for the purchase of land for comprehensive rural reform.

“It is a clear demonstration that all sectors of Colombian society can and must contribute significantly to the implementation of the Final Agreement”, he highlighted.

Likewise, he highlighted the participation of communities, including those affected by the conflict and former members of the FARC-EP, in the dialogues for the design of the National Development Plan, and trusts that “this instrument, which will guide public policies for the following four years, incorporate concrete measures aimed at meeting their expectations of peace and development, and the implementation of the Final Agreement”.

Guterres pointed out “that it is essential that the parties maintain a constructive dialogue to advance implementation.”

In this sense, he welcomes the resumption of the sessions of the Commission for Monitoring, Promotion and Verification of the implementation of the Final Agreement and other instances of the

Agreement to address key issues such as ethnic and gender perspectives

The Government seeks to turn Colombia into “a world power of life”
The Colombian vice president addressed the Council as “a daughter of ancestral territory, as spokesperson for the Colombian people and representative of a government that has come to change the history of my country.”

Márquez added that the Executive has “the democratic will to confront violence, social injustices, and structural inequalities,” and that “the government of change is building policies for the people, and policies to make Colombia a world power of the life”.

The deputy president showed the government’s support “for the initiatives of the communities that clamor for humanitarian agreements, now!”

And she insisted on the ceasefire and on all the scenarios of dialogue and political agreements that require having a safe and peaceful country.

Márquez later stated that her “central commitment” is to guarantee the life of the entire Colombian population.

Lastly, she invited all the representatives to hold a session of the Security Council in Colombia “in order to support peace from the territories” and “to learn on the ground” about the challenges they face on a daily basis.

“It is these challenges that encourage us to continue working for that real, lasting, and sustainable peace that leads all Colombians to live with love and joy,” she affirmed.