Colombia is at a turning point in its history [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 12 April 2019
I would like to warmly thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, for his briefing, as well as for the excellent work that he and his team carry out in service of Colombia. I also thank the Co-Director of the Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica, Ms. Rosa Emilia Salamanca, for her and her organization’s commitment. Allow me also to warmly welcome the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, His Excellency Mr. Carlos Holmes Trujillo. His presence here with us is especially important and appreciated.
Colombia is at a turning point in its history. Two years after the disarmament and political reintegration of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) began, in the context of a historic peace process for the country, the continent and the United Nations, it is essential to successfully complete the reincorporation process.
The Colombian President has repeatedly reaffirmed publicly his commitment to implement the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, which is, of course, a key point. We welcome that commitment, as well as the political will and ambition to build broad consensus, bringing together all political trends, including political actors that are skeptical about the 2016 peace agreement. Success — and dare we say the model — in Colombia is also a source of expectations from the international community, which stands firmly at Colombia’s side in that process. Allow me to mention three aspects that are of importance to us all.
First, it is essential that transitional justice, at the heart of the Colombian peace process, be preserved. As such, the early adoption of the statutory law on the Special Jurisdiction for Peace will help that institution fully assert its authority. At this juncture, we call on all political actors to respect the decisions taken by that Jurisdiction. As the Special Representative mentioned, significant work has already been done, with several cases under review that likely involve more than 800,000 victims. Caught between the resentment of part of the population and feelings of legal and physical insecurity among former combatants, the Colombian authorities face the difficult task of maintaining and strengthening bonds of trust that unite all actors in the peace process. The success of the Colombian model depends upon it. Among the issues that may raise concerns, I would like to mention the constitutional reform process; it is essential to reiterate it is not retroactive.
Secondly, economic and social reintegration is the other key to a successful and lasting peace process. Progress has been made under the leadership of the National Reintegration Council to approve more collective and individual projects. The challenge now is to accelerate the overall implementation of the reincorporation process and address the issue of access to land. The plan of the Office of High Counsellor Archila is therefore to be commended. Clarifications are also expected on the future of the regrouping and reintegration areas, which must be decided on in conjunction with former FARC-EP members. As I mentioned earlier, bonds of trust, which are strengthened by such consultations, must be the central to all efforts.
We also encourage the Colombian Government to fully integrate the gender equality dimension, as well as the role of youth, in the reincorporation process. The peace process will gain legitimacy if it is representative of the diversity and vitality of Colombia’s civil society, which Ms. Salamanca perfectly embodies. The projects carried out by the Verification Mission to implement the women and peace and security and the youth and peace and security agendas also contribute to that end.
Finally, and this will be my last point, the fragile security situation in the former conflict areas must be an obvious priority. Despite the measures announced by the Colombian authorities over the past two years, human rights defenders, particularly women, as well as former combatants, remain the main targets of criminal groups. As part of the ongoing efforts of the Colombian authorities, the deployment of basic State services appears essential to stabilizing the areas in question. As the departmental and municipal elections approach next October, the necessary measures must be taken to ensure that this democratic exercise is conducted under the best possible conditions.
I would say to Foreign Minister Trujillo that his country is taking a new path towards peace and national reconciliation, which is also a historic chapter in its history. The courage and ambition that he expresses day after day is a source of pride for Colombia and a source of inspiration for the whole world. In that context, we hope that the challenges that remain to be overcome, of which I have mentioned three, will be seen in the near future as great achievements of the Colombian Government. Whatever the difficulties encountered on this demanding path, Colombia knows that it can always count on the fraternal support of France.