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SC: Colombia

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul on the situation in Colombia, 21 January 2021.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General and Special Representative Massieu for the report and for the concrete recommendations, which we support.

The Security Council has been the foremost guardian of the Colombian peace accord. As a new member, we look forward to contributing to this Councils work to safeguard the integrity and ensure the implementation of the Accord.

We come to this role with the background of our longstanding contribution to the UN mission, and as Guarantor Country to the Peace Agreement, together with Cuba. Norway has long accompanied Colombia in its efforts to achieve peace. And we greatly appreciate the trust that the parties have shown us.

President,

We join the Secretary-General in recognising the significant results of the Peace Agreement during its first four years. From our perspective key achievements have been:

  • The transformation of FARC from a guerrilla group to a political actor;
  • Progress in reintegration, including through the establishment of productive projects for ex-combatants;
  • Progress made in rural development in conflict areas;
  • And the substantial work of the institutions of the ‘System for transitional justice’ in fulfilling their commitments towards the victims.

President,

It is a remarkable achievement that the vast majority of former FARC combatants remain in the reintegration process.

This speaks both to the commitment of these former combatants, but also to the government’s commitment to reintegration.

Moving forward, we encourage the authorities- in cooperation with the FARC- to take further steps in order to:

  • Ensure access to land, for housing and productive projects;
  • Combat stigmatization and build trust between former combatants, state institutions and communities;
  • Increase the institutional attention to the new reintegration areas;
  • And, make sure that women ex-combatants have equal access to reintegration projects.

President,

We remember that during the peace negotiations a turning point was reached when the victims, on both sides of the conflict, were placed at the centre of the discussions. Now, in 2021, the victims must again be placed at the centre.

The Truth Commission will issue its final report, and the Special jurisdiction for Peace (the SJP) will deliver its first judgements. We urge both parties, and other actors, to cooperate fully with these institutions and to enable them to carry out their work independently, and without political interference.

The principles of justice, truth, reparation and non-repetition must remain above ideologies and political polarisation. In support of this endeavour, the Security Council should swiftly consider the request for an expansion of the Verification Mission’s mandate to verify compliance with the sentences to be issued by the SJP.

However, President,

At the same time, we express our deep concern with the security situation of former combatants, social leaders and human rights defenders. Norway firmly believes that an inclusive political process, with respect for human rights- including women’s rights- and with the rule of law at its core, is a prerequisite for achieving lasting, sustainable peace.

We remain particularly worried by the growing level of violence, threats, stigmatisation, and discrimination against: women, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, environmental and LGBTI activists, and human rights defenders.

For this Council, which oversees the implementation of the Peace Agreement, it should be intolerable that more than 250 ex-combatants – signatories to the Peace Accord - have been killed since its signing. And, already since the beginning of this year, four ex-combatants have been killed. While we recognise the efforts made by the government to improve security, these numbers demonstrate that more needs to be done.

We therefore reinforce the Secretary-General´s call that the authorities immediately must redouble their efforts, including by:

  • Strengthening the protection schemes and filling the vacancies in the National Protection Unit;
  • Enabling the National Commission on Security Guarantees to finalise and implement a public policy to dismantle illegal armed groups.
  • Enhancing the capacity of the Special Investigative Unit of the Attorney-General’s office; and, accelerating the implementation of the Comprehensive Programme of Safeguards for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders

Indeed, guaranteeing women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in all phases of the implementation is fundamental for ensuring sustainable peace. We commend efforts by the government to trace gender specific indicators, and we encourage the enhanced implementation of gender-relevant provisions.

President,

Advancing the implementation of the Peace Agreement requires sustained and constructive dialogue between the parties. Norway encourages the government and the FARC to make better use of the mechanisms for dialogue provided for in the Agreement. Not least ‘The Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Peace Agreement’ (CSIVI) and the ‘National Reincorporation Council’ (CNR).

In this spirit, while recognising the challenges related to the identification, and handing over of conflict related assets, we strongly encourage both parties to jointly ensure that these assets can be recovered for the benefit of the victims.

President,

We commend the government, the FARC and the Colombian people for significant progress achieved. Nevertheless, important work remains.

The Accord calls for nothing less than comprehensive and structural changes to address the root causes of the conflict. Including through implementing the provisions of the ethnic chapter as well as: rural reform, political participation, and substitution of illegal crops.  

We urge both parties to: conform to their commitments, increase efforts, and work together to sustain progress towards sustainable peace for the Colombian people. 

President, colleagues,

Let me end with an assurance that Norway will stand by its consistent, and long-term, commitment to peace in Colombia.