The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru):
From 11 to 14 July 2019, the members of the Security Council visited Colombia in a mission co-led by Peru and the United Kingdom, upon the invitation of the Government of Colombia. They welcomed the opportunity to meet with President Iván Duque and senior Government officials, FARC representatives, diverse political parties, civil society organizations, transitional justice institutions, the United Nations Verification Mission, and the United Nations country team. The mission included one day in Bogotá and one day in the “Santa Rosa” Territorial Area for Training and Reintegration (TATR) and the nearby community of Caldono, Cauca. The members of the Security Council thanked the Government, the United Nations Verification Mission, and all interlocutors for productive discussions. They were encouraged by the commitments expressed by all to implementation of the Final Peace Agreement.
Subsequently, the members of the Security Council met on 19 July to discuss the visit and the Secretary-General’s 26 June report on the situation in Colombia. They shared the report’s recognition of the achievements of the peace process, of the significant remaining challenges, and of the importance of building on gains made so far through timely implementation of the Final Agreement. They called on all stakeholders to work constructively together towards this goal and to avoid political polarisation.
The members of the Security Council welcomed Government efforts to advance the reintegration of former FARC-EP members and strengthen rural development, including through the comprehensive “Peace with Legality” plan. This included, in particular, the Government’s efforts to ensure, in dialogue with the FARC, a smooth reconfiguration of the TATRs once their current legal status expires in August. They recognized progress made in implementing productive projects and encouraged the Government and the FARC to continue working to accelerate the approval, disbursement, and implementation of these projects. The members of the Security Council were encouraged by the commitment of the majority of former FARC-EP members to the peace process, and to building new civilian lives inside and outside the TATRs.
The members of the Security Council also welcomed the beginning of implementation of 16 Development Programmes with a Territorial Focus, and the adoption of a Roadmap for Stabilisation. In this regard, they stressed the importance of implementing the Final Agreement as an interlocking set of commitments, which include reintegration plans as well as agreements on rural reform, political participation, countering illicit drugs, and transitional justice.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the adoption of the Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) as a positive step in providing necessary support for the SJP, and noted that this body, the Truth Commission, and the Search Unit for Missing Persons carry out vital work. They stressed the importance of ensuring that the transitional justice system is able to work independently and autonomously, with the necessary political and financial support.
The Security Council expressed serious concern at the continued killings of social and community leaders and former FARC-EP members. They recognized the Government’s efforts to address this issue, including the “Action Plan for the Protection of Social and Community Leaders, Human Rights Defenders, and Journalists” and recent measures to protect former FARC-EP members, including by involving local authorities. They underscored the need for these measures to translate into concrete results in preventing attacks and bringing those responsible to justice, especially with a view to ensuring peaceful and inclusive local elections in October 2019.
The members of the Security Council encouraged further progress in the implementation of the gender provisions of the Peace Agreement, and encouraged the Government, the FARC, and civil society organisations to continue to prioritize this issue, including within the reintegration programme and by providing security guarantees for women leaders. They also underlined the importance of engaging youth in implementation of the peace agreement, including the reintegration process.
The members of the Security Council reiterated that the peace process remains an example for others around the world. They welcomed and will give prompt consideration to the request transmitted by President Duque, on behalf of the Government and the FARC, for the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission for one year after the current mandate expires on 25 September 2019. The members of the Security Council expressed appreciation for the work of the Verification Mission and the country team to support Colombia’s peacebuilding efforts. They also stressed the importance of the international community remaining closely engaged to support implementation.