SC: Arria on Colombia

Statement by Minister Counsellor Meena Syed in the Security Council Arria-meeting on Colombia, 14 July 2022.

We thank Ireland for this important opportunity; and Father Francisco De Roux for his briefing, and his personal, and passionate, engagement for the Truth Commission.

We also thank Eamon Gilmore, Ms. Juana Acosta, and Ms. Yanet Mosquera Rivera for their statements.

President-elect Petro’s call for national unity, and underscoring that peace will be a central goal of his administration, reassuring. As a guarantor country in the FARC peace process- together with Cuba- our obligations lie with the peace agreement that was signed by the government of Colombia and the now extinct FARC-EP in 2016.

Hence, our message is no surprise: we highlight the need for the full and comprehensive implementation of an agreement that has two parties, and an established institutional architecture. 

 The ‘Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition’ is such a crucial instrument for creating justice after the internal, violent conflict. Putting the victims at the centre, it is perhaps the most sophisticated system of its kind globally.

As we said in the Council this morning: Colombians can be proud of it. It serves as an inspiration, and a model for transitional justice systems elsewhere in the world.

A major step for transitional justice in Colombia has been the testimonies from the recent former FARC-EP during the public hearings in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

The way the top commanders of the former FARC-ep faced their victims, assumed personal responsibility, and provided further details on the crimes committed, serves as an example to all other actors and entities.

Former members of the military have also recognized their responsibility, asked for forgiveness, and acknowledged that civilian victims were falsely reported as guerrilla members killed in combat.

These are important steps towards reconciliation, and reparation for the many victims of the conflict.  

The Truth Commission has carried out a titanic task, hearing thousands of testimonies and scrutinising countless reports and documents. The result is impressive, thanks to Father Francisco and his team.

The Commission’s report clearly states that business as usual is not working.  

It is our hope that the report will be instrumental, not only in mending the wounds after more than 50 years of violent conflict, but by addressing its root causes.

We encourage all sectors of Colombian society-in particular the incoming government- to take a close look at, and to follow up on, the commission’s recommendations. To break the cycle of violence, provide security for everyone, and ultimately build a more inclusive society.

The report provides an opportunity for Colombia to replace the logic of war with the logic of peace.

It is no small task, but Norway stands ready to support you also in this next phase of the peace process.

Implementing a peace agreement takes time.

Much has been accomplished, but we nevertheless remain troubled by the current high levels of violence.

The number of human rights defenders, social leaders and former FARC combatants killed is staggering.

Violence and threats hinder broader contributions to peacebuilding- including through transitional justice.

This represents a serious threat to the peace agreement.

The international community can, and must, support Colombia’s effort to build peace. And Norway has been a main donor to the implementation of the peace agreement.

Let me end by congratulating Colombia on the Truth Commission’s final report, and please rest assured that Norway remains committed to accompanying Colombia in your efforts to ensure the peace agreement is comprehensively implemented.