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​​​​​​​Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council

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Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting, 14 July 2022

(As delivered)

Muito Obrigado, Senhor Presidente, Mr. President, Thank you for the opportunity to present the latest report of the Secretary-General on Colombia and to update the Council on important recent developments since the publication of the Report.

Señor Presidente,

Es un gusto estar en este Consejo de Seguridad compañía de la Vicepresidenta y Canciller Marta Lucía Ramírez. Aprovecho la oportunidad una vez más para agradecerle la colaboración del Gobierno de Colombia a la Misión de Verificación y a Naciones Unidas de manera general.

Celebro la participación en la sesión de Jineth Casso Piamba, una lideresa del pueblo Nasa del departamento del Cauca, integrante de la Red de Mujeres del municipio de Caldono. Las mujeres indígenas, como este Consejo lo sabe muy bien, han desempeñado y desempeñan un papel protagónico en la construcción de la paz desde los territorios.

Y me complace de manera muy especial el presentar este informe trimestral en compañía del Padre Francisco De Roux, Presidente de la Comisión de la Verdad. Aprovecho para felicitarle a él y a los demás comisionados por su extraordinaria labor durante los últimos tres años y por la reciente publicación de su informe final. Quisiera hacer eco también del mensaje principal transmitido al país con motivo de la presentación este informe: solamente con verdad se construirá un mejor futuro para toda Colombia.

Mr. President, distinguished Members of the Council,

Over the past few months, Colombians took part in a hard-fought political campaign leading to the election of President Gustavo Petro and Vice-President Francia Márquez, who will be sworn in on 7 August, and of a new Congress that will be installed on 20 July.

I reiterate the Secretary-General’s encouragement over these mostly peaceful elections, and take the opportunity to highlight, once more, the significant contribution of the Final Peace Agreement to widening and deepening Colombian democracy.

Electoral outcomes increasingly reflect the diversity of the country’s vibrant society. More guarantees exist now for exercising political opposition; and 16 representatives of victims from conflict-affected regions will have their voices heard in Congress. This too will be an unprecedented Congress in that it will include the largest ever share of women lawmakers, close to 30 per cent of all Congress.

I recently had the opportunity, along with the UN Women representative, to meet with several of the newly elected women lawmakers. They expressed their clear determination to advance many issues in Congress including the gender provisions of the Peace Agreement. We hope the new Congress will make considerable progress in passage of more than 30 peace-related norms still pending approval, including on key matters such as the comprehensive rural reform and guarantees for political participation.

Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

Along with the reasons for encouragement we are also reminded constantly of the serious obstacles that still remain to the consolidation of peace. Chief among them is the persisting violence against communities, against leaders and former combatants in several departments.

It saddens me to have to inform you about the killing of four more former combatants since the Secretary-General’s report was published two weeks ago. Among them was Ronald Rojas –known as Ramiro Durán– a prominent leader of former combatants in Huila department. Ramiro had stood out for his commitment to peace since the onset of the process: after the laydown of arms, he became a leader of the reintegration process and an advocate for the implementation of the Agreement more broadly, including as an active member of the Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Agreement until 2021.

Including these most recent deaths, the Mission has registered the killings of 331 former combatants since the signing of the Agreement. Their security must be guaranteed. A priority for any, any, Peace Agreement must be to safeguard the lives of those who laid down their arms in good faith with the assurance that they would be protected.

Mr. President,

Illegal armed actors continue to target local leaders in conflict affected areas marked by poverty, illicit economies and a limited presence of the State. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are among the most seriously affected by the violence and insecurity. And while the full implementation of ethnic provisions of the Final Agreement could help address these most urgent concerns, their implementation remains comparatively low.

The High-level Forum of Ethnic Peoples, created by the Agreement, has called for a dedicated follow-up on the ethnic matters by international actors. I fully endorse this recommendation.

Mr. President,

Concerning information has recently come to light regarding the alleged misuse of considerable resources from royalties from hydrocarbon exploitation allocated for the implementation of projects within the development programmes with a territorial focus, or PDETs. Transparency in the use of precious funding for peace demands that all possible acts of corruption should be thoroughly investigated by the authorities, and I trust that this will be the case.

Señor Presidente, distinguidos Miembros del Consejo,

Pese a los múltiples desafíos que enfrenta el proceso, los desarrollos de este periodo también incluyen avances inspiradores. En un hito de la mayor importancia para la paz de Colombia y para el mundo, la Comisión de la Verdad publicó hace unas semanas su Informe Final. Este es un compendio amplio de múltiples voces y sectores a lo largo y ancho de la sociedad y la geografía de Colombia. El informe ha revelado hallazgos dolorosos sobre las causas y efectos del conflicto, incluyendo cifras desgarradoras sobre las vidas truncadas de cientos de miles de colombianos y colombianas durante décadas, y sobre las dinámicas que explican la persistencia de la violencia.

El informe también presenta un legado invaluable de recomendaciones para que sea posible avanzar en la construcción de paz y la reconciliación como un proyecto nacional, entre ellas un llamado a las entidades del Estado a garantizar el cumplimiento integral del Acuerdo Final de Paz. Asimismo, las históricas primeras audiencias de reconocimiento de verdad y responsabilidad de la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz elevaron las voces de representantes de cientos de víctimas y sus llamados por la justicia y la reparación.

En línea con su objetivo reparador, las audiencias también abrieron un espacio para que –frente a las víctimas y ante el mundo– líderes de las antiguas FARC-EP, exmiembros de la Fuerza Pública, incluidos oficiales de alto rango, y terceros civiles contribuyeran a la verdad a través de sus reconocimientos y reforzaran su compromiso con la no repetición. De esa manera la JEP también avanza hacia la imposición de sus primeras sanciones. Por su parte, la Unidad de Búsqueda de Personas dadas por Desaparecidas ha continuado su importante labor. Hace sólo unos días determinó el paradero de un padre que logró reunirse con sus dos hijas y logró el reencuentro de dos hermanos separados por décadas. La Misión ciertamente continuará dando seguimiento a estos y otros esfuerzos de todas las partes hacia el objetivo común de garantizar satisfacción de los derechos de las víctimas a la verdad, la justicia, la reparación y la no repetición.

Mr. President,

As the incoming administration prepares to take office, President-elect Petro has called for national unity and has expressed his intention to deepen the comprehensive implementation of the Peace Agreement, as well as to seek negotiated solutions –both political and judicial– with the remaining illegal armed actors, in what he has called the search for “total peace”. When I met him two weeks ago, he strongly reaffirmed that peace would be a cornerstone of his government and that he was counting on the support of the United Nations.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Vice-President-elect Francia Márquez, the first Afro-Colombian woman to hold this position, who has also reiterated that peace, with a territorial and ethnic approach, will feature prominently in the Government’s agenda. Indeed, the incoming administration has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to accelerate the implementation of the Peace Agreement. There are good, very good, reasons for optimism for peace, and I believe the United Nations and the international community at large should do all they can to lend support.

I thank you, Mr. President.