Colombia: the implementation of the peace agreement is entering a new stage [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 10 October 2018
At the outset, I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jean Arnault, for his insightful briefing today on the outstanding work of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia. I also welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Mr. Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who is participating for the first time in a public meeting of the Council on Colombia since the new President of Colombia was inaugurated in August.
The implementation of the historic Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) is now entering a new stage. In the wake of the political changeover following the legislative and presidential elections, whose organization we have already commended, the new Colombian authorities must now continue to implement the commitments made in the framework of the peace agreement, in particular the reintegration of ex-combatants and security guarantees, as monitored by the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.
Like previous speakers, France welcomes the recent decision of the Government of President Duque to fill key positions in institutions in charge of reintegration, in accordance with the peace agreement. In the context of that the change of Administration — a sign in and of itself of the vitality of Colombian democracy, independent of the positions adopted by the political parties — I wish to make three observations.
First, I want to note the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which is the pillar of transitional justice. The independent Jurisdiction has the responsibility of giving assurances both to victims and to participants in the conflict in the framework of a comprehensive system of justice, truth, reparation and non-repetition. The ambitious choice of signatories of the agreement, which is an important innovation and could ultimately be transposed or adapted to other conflicts, requires judges to be allowed to carry out their juridical duties independently and, above all, that the Jurisidication’s operational rules not be changed.
France has had the opportunity on several occasions to demonstrate its commitment to the pillar of transitional justice, and I believe it important to stress that the new Colombian authorities, who have shown their determination to keep Colombia on the path of peace and prosperity, continue to preserve the independence of the Special Jurisdication for Peace and to do their utmost to bolster the system of justice, truth, reparation and non-repetition.
My second point has already been raised in previous meetings but remains relevant. I refer to the deterioration of the security situation in former conflict zones. That insecurity affects former FARC-EP combatants, who are now the targets of criminal groups seeking to extend their area of influence. It also affects social leaders, human rights defenders and those who participate in coca crop substitution programmes. Their murders must be vigorously condemned. Improving the security situation in zones previously controlled by the FARC-EP is a major challenge that the new Colombian Government must address in order to reap the dividends of peace. Although some measures have been taken in that regard, France encourages the Colombian authorities to redouble their efforts to provide public services in those areas and thereby build long-term peace. In that connection, we welcome the national pact for life and the protection of social leaders and human rights defenders, adopted on 23 August.
Thirdly and finally, the successful implementation of the peace agreement will depend on the success of economic reintegration. Too many revenue-generating projects initiated by ex-combatants have failed for lack of support. All relevant State services must therefore be mobilized to give ex-combatants the opportunity to contribute to the economic development of their country. Key elements for development and reintegration include access to land. Progress in this area in particular is anticipated following the commitments undertaken by the Government of Colombia, because it is those lands that will definitively turn the page on 50 years of conflict and testify to the commitment of ex-combatants to improving their country.
The people of Colombia and their new Government, represented today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, can count on the full and fraternal support of France in this period of building a historic peace.