Implementation of the Peace Agreement and initiation dialogues with the armed groups are crucial in ending the five decades conflict in Colombia and consolidating peace in the country, said UN Special Representative Carlos Ruiz Massieu in a Security Council meeting on Thursday.
“The two aims are important aspects of the Government’s Total Peace Policy and have become inextricably linked”, he said. “It is hard to envision either fully succeeding without the other, given the realities on the ground in many of the conflict-affected areas where violence by remaining armed groups is a major obstacle to implementing the country’s peace agreement, and where insufficient implementation also fuels the conditions for that violence,” he added.
Presenting the most recent report of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, spanning the period from December 27, 2022, to March 26, 2023, Mr. Massieu updates the progress that is made during this period. He further sets the commitment of the parties as the ground for optimism even amidst the current challenges. He also emphasizes that Government’s dialogues with different militant groups and initiatives to implement the Peace Agreement are mutually reinforcing in total peace policy.
This Mission confirms the reintegration of former troops into political, economic, and social life. Mr. Massieu shared the details of a recent meeting of the President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, with the ex-commander of the former FARC-EP, Rodrigo Londoño, in the capital, Bogotá. Moreover, they both also carried out a visit to those areas that are under the influence of illegal militant groups where these groups threaten numerous former fighters and their families.
He said these incidents “are an example of how the parties can work together to address the multiple challenges facing the process and to advance implementation”. In the Security Council resolution that is passed in January, for the first time the substantial rural reforms and ethnic issues are addressed in the UN report on peace agreement. These amenities vary from essential infrastructures and investments to remote rural areas to address the particular effects brought by the ethnic communities during the conflict.
Mr. Massieu stated that the UN Mission is already collaborating with the Government and State organizations and that mechanisms established under the peace agreement are working to meet the aspirations of citizens from small farmer, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian groups.
“It is precisely in these rural areas, and for these vulnerable populations, that we can see again how the fuller implementation of the agreement and dialogue processes with armed groups can be mutually reinforcing,” he said.