We thank SRSG Ruiz Massieu for his briefing. Allow me also to extend a warm welcome to Melissa Herrera for sharing her experiences here today, and her valuable recommendations. Women, peace and security is of high priority for Norway, an area where we enjoy a close cooperation with the Colombian government, headed personally by Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez. Thank you for taking the time to be here today.
Let me start by recognising the strong commitment of the parties to the continued implementation of the Peace Agreement- even in the midst of challenging circumstances with social unrest. Yet, the reports of the deaths of 56 persons and more than 90 still missing, are deeply disturbing.
In response the international community has:
- Insisted on respect for human rights and peaceful protests,
- Condemned any disproportionate use of force,
- And called on all actors to resolve differences through dialogue.
And we echo those calls here today.
To put an end to the cycles of violence, it is crucial that all human rights violations and abuses are investigated, and that those responsible are held accountable. This includes, of course, those responsible for the attack against the President’s helicopter on June 25th. As delivered
Since this Council last met to discuss the implementation of the Colombian Peace Agreement, we are concerned to hear reports that:
- An additional 15 ex-combatants have been murdered,
- That there has been an increase in the recruitment and use of children by armed groups,
- And that OHCHR has received reports of 49 additional killings of social leaders and human rights-defenders.
We are also worried about the high level of stigmatization experienced by female ex-combatants, and human rights defenders engaging in political work. This includes reports of sexual and gender-based violence.
Recent events should serve as a strong encouragement to the parties to reverse these worrying developments and implement the full range of provisions in the Peace Agreement. In particular, those related to security guarantees, enhanced political participation, and all gender provisions. Ensuring the full, equal, meaningful – and safe- participation of women in the peace process; as well as the active and meaningful participation of ethnic minorities, and youth. The protection of human rights defenders must also be strengthened.
Indeed, the very purpose of the Peace Agreement is to ensure that violence is replaced by political participation. Chapter 2 provides a range of tools to strengthen the Colombian democracy, and to ensure participation in the exercise of politics.
On a more positive note, Norway welcomes the progress made by the Integrated System for Transitional Justice. The Truth Commission provides an invaluable space for truth telling and encounters between victims and perpetrators. We urge all actors to make full use of the Commission.
It is important to highlight the significance of the assumption of responsibility by former leaders of the FARC in the case 001 of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace concerning hostage taking and severe deprivations of liberty. This is historic: It is unprecedented that leaders of a former guerrilla group assume responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes. This should serve as an example for future cases as a step towards accountability and justice; by the parties, by the Special Jurisdiction itself, and for the victims.
At the same time, we must also take seriously the reports that victims and alleged perpetrators- including former members of the FARC and the public security forces- do not feel that they can contribute to the transitional justice system without risking their lives. To ensure due process, and to meet the demands from victims, it is essential that the authorities protect those appearing before the court.
Let me end by repeating that recent events in Colombia have demonstrated the fragility of peace and the importance of sustained dialogue to resolve political differences. We encourage the parties and all stakeholders to keep working together in order to achieve lasting peace. Rest assured that Norway remains committed to accompany Colombia in these efforts.