The Colombian peace process is a source of inspiration [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 19 July 2019
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, for his comprehensive briefing.
I also welcome the presence among us of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Mr. Carlos Holmes Trujillo García.
This meeting is being held one week after the Council’s visit to Colombia. I would like to thank the Colombian authorities, as well as my Peruvian and British colleagues, for the excellent organization of that visit. The mission allowed us to witness the commitment of the Colombian authorities at the highest level to the peace process. It also demonstrated the importance of involving all parties, including civil society and the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, to ensure the sustainability of the process over time.
I would like to emphasize three points.
First, the increasing polarization of Colombian society and the security situation continue to be sources of concern. The outcome of the peace process is extremely positive, but the uptick in violence and the lack of confidence on the part of the population and civil society are worrisome. France condemns the killings of former combatants, social leaders, human rights defenders, journalists and individuals involved in crop substitution. Those are not isolated acts but recurring phenomena. It is important that this movement of political violence be combated in and of itself and that impunity be ended.
In that regard, we welcome the Colombian Government’s initiatives, including those aimed at protecting former combatants who choose the path of reintegration. The implementation of the Action Plan for the Protection of Social and Community Leaders, Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which was established last year, and the recently announced pilot projects are steps in the right direction. Those efforts should be continued and strengthened, particularly in the run-up to the local elections in October, in order to ensure that Colombian democracy can flourish in a climate of trust, calm and security.
Secondly, I would like to stress the importance of the full implementation of the Final Agreement for the Termination of Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace in all its aspects. The progress made in recent months must be continued and expanded.
In particular, the entry into force of the statutory law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace is an important milestone in the transitional justice process. Its implementation presents many challenges, including with regard to the retroactive application of certain provisions, but respect for the commitments made by all parties must prevail. It is important that Colombia continue to build its capacity to strengthen the legitimacy, independence and sustainability of the transitional justice system. It is also important that women, who have too often been victims of violence, be able to find justice. We will remain vigilant on those subjects, because justice cannot be separated from the objective of lasting peace and national reconciliation.
The economic and social reintegration of former combatants is the main key to the success of the peace process. Long-term solutions must be found for former combatants living in the territorial areas for training and reintegration. Another key element is the implementation of measures on rural reform. The issue of access to land cannot be separated from a sustainable economic and social development policy. The continuation of programmes illicit crop substitution programmes is also important. Finally, the deployment of State services to the areas that are most vulnerable to illegal armed groups is essential for successful socioeconomic reintegration throughout the country.
Thirdly, the support of the Council and, more generally, the international community is indispensable.
Through the political courage and painful choices that it has required on the part of all stakeholders, the Colombian peace process is in many ways a source of inspiration for all, and the Council in particular. In that regard, we have a responsibility to support and sustain the historic choice made in 2016 for forward-looking national reconciliation. That collective support, which is reflected in particular in the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia and the United Nations country team, whose work I commend, deserves to be continued, including in the light of the forthcoming renewal of the Mission’s mandate.
In my national capacity, I would also like to assure the Colombian people of France’s friendly support and readiness to continue to stand by them, together with our partners in the European Union, on the demanding path of peace.