Colombia: France welcomes the progress made since the peace agreement [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
Security Council - 13 January 2020
Before addressing the situation in Colombia, I would also like to thank you, Mr. President, for the two minutes of silence that were observed earlier, first of all in memory of the countless victims of the Haitian earthquake on 12 January 2010. I would also like to offer my condolences to Ambassador Abarry and to the Government and the people of the Niger for the deaths of 89 Nigerien soldiers in the terrorist attack on the Chinagodrar camp on 9 January.
Turning now to Colombia, I wish to welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Claudia Blum de Barberi, to the Chamber and congratulate her on her appointment. I would also like to thank Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu for his briefing and, above all, to commend his work and that of the entire team at the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia. The Council has endeavoured to take a united front in supporting the collective efforts of the Colombian Government and people, in particular through the establishment of the United Nations Verification Mission, and we welcome President Duque’s call to extend the Mission until 2022.
It has now been over three years since the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace was concluded. Much has already been accomplished thanks to the efforts of the Colombian Government and people, which I once again wish to commend.
For the first time since the peace agreement was signed, local and departmental elections were held on 27 October under broadly satisfactory conditions. The Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común party presented numerous candidates and Colombian voters turned out in large numbers. That high level of participation in the elections demonstrated the positive contribution of the peace agreement to the democratic process in Colombia. The newly-elected local authorities will now be able to contribute to the implementation of the agreement, in particular through their involvement in development programmes with a territorial focus, which constitute an important component of the agreement.
The reintegration system is also producing results, as evidenced in the report of the Secretary-General (see S/2019/988). We are particularly pleased that the vast majority of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) ex-combatants remain engaged in the economic and social reintegration process, despite the choice of a very small minority to resume armed struggle, which France condemns.
We also welcome the continued progress in the work carried out by the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. The transitional justice system is set to hand down its first sentences this year, which is a crucial element in the construction of a lasting and inclusive peace. However, that will only be successful if the entire process is carried out and concluded effectively.
We must also clearly recognize that, compared with the ambition of 2016, certain provisions of the agreement have not yet been sufficiently implemented. As several speakers before me have highlighted, the peace agreement was conceived of as a whole, the various elements of which must be interconnected and inseparable in order to be fully effective.
France therefore calls on all stakeholders to redouble their efforts with a view to fully implementing all components of the peace agreement. We stress, in particular, the importance of the National Comprehensive Programme for the Substitution of Illicit Crops, which must be endowed with the resources it needs to properly function, especially to finance the alternative productive projects that will ensure its long-term success. Rural reform is one of the fundamental pillars of the agreement and must be implemented, as must political reform. Particular attention should also be paid to the chapters of the agreement addressing issues relating to ethnicity and gender.
The full and complete implementation of the peace agreement is the only viable way to respond to the remaining major security problems in the country, including with regard to civil society figures, human rights defenders, former FARC-EP combatants and indigenous peoples, who are the principal victims. The year 2019 was particularly worrisome from that perspective. The Government has made efforts to ensure the presence of law and order forces and the individual protection of those at risk, but France calls on the Colombian authorities to do more to ensure the presence of all services — military and civilian — across its territory, including in the most remote departments, in consultation with civil society. Progress in the field of collective protection is also necessary. I fully agree with what the Ambassador of Belgium said concerning the protection of children.
Difficulties in implementation are inherent in any agreement, but various mechanisms have been devised in order to provide solutions to those problems. They constitute the appropriate forum for dialogue and should be used to a greater extent. We are also fully aware that the implementation of the agreement is taking place in a complex context, in particular due to the challenge that the Venezuelan migration crisis poses for Colombia. Here, I commend the generosity of the Colombian Government and people in welcoming Venezuelan refugees and migrants with the support of the international community.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize once again that the Government and the people of Colombia can rest assured of France’s support and readiness to continue supporting them, alongside our partners within the European Union, on the demanding path towards peace.