Statement by H.E. Inga Rhonda King  PR of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations on behalf of  Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (A3+1) on Colombia Peace Process (UN Verification Mission) briefing.

Statement by H.E. Inga Rhonda King PR of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations on behalf of Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (A3+1) on Colombia Peace Process (UN Verification Mission) briefing.

Thank you, Mr. President,

It is a privilege to deliver this statement on behalf of Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – the A3+1.

I begin by thanking SRSG Massieu and Ms. Melissa Herrera, Founder and Director of Viva la Vida for their presentations.

The A3+1 reiterates its full support for the efforts of the UN Verification Mission and welcomes the participation of H.E. Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia.

Mr. President,

The unprecedented social unrest experienced in Colombia and its concomitant violence in recent months, are extremely worrying. We deplore the senseless killings and disappearance of a number of people, as underscored in the recent report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

These difficulties demonstrate the utmost importance of frontally tackling the underlying causes of conflict, including inequality.

The A3+1 notes the advances and setbacks to the implementation of the Final Agreement enunciated in the latest Secretary General’s report S/2021/603. We welcome the advances and encourage greater effort to address outstanding challenges.

The killing of 277 former FARC combatants since the signing of the peace agreement and the decision by former combatant lawyers to pursue legal actions in search of protection guarantees underline the gravity of the security situation, which remains deeply troubling.

Clearly, there must be greater impetus in strengthening the State’s security machinery to curb the relentless violence, especially against the groups made most vulnerable, including former FARC combatants, Afro and Indigenous Colombians, and social, human rights and women leaders.

We reiterate our appreciation for the adoption of the public policy guidelines for the dismantling of illegal armed groups and urge its full implementation. We note however diverging views on the strategic plan for protection following its adoption and encourage all parties to settle these differences through dialogue.

We also urge the Colombian authorities to contribute more resources for the implementation of the Comprehensive Security and Protection Programmes and renew our call for regular meetings of the National Commission on Security Guarantees.

The central pillars of this Council – Peace and Security- are interlinked with the fight against human rights violations. Accordingly, we urge the authorities to advance with investigations and address impunity in instances of human rights violations so that perpetrators are held accountable.

Mr. President,

Transitional justice remains a cornerstone of peace processes. The A3+1 is pleased with the continued progress in the Comprehensive System of Truth Justice, Reparations and Non-Repetition. We express satisfaction with the work within the Truth Commission and the SJP, including efforts on Case 01 and ongoing work on Case 03. Accepting wrongdoings for transgressions committed over the years is pivotal in ensuring justice, reconciliation and sustainable peace for the victims.

In terms of reintegration, the A3+1 renews its call for enhanced measures to facilitate the proper reintegration of former combatants into the Colombian society, including adequate access to basic services. We are encouraged by the positive developments reported by the Secretary General on the Development Programmes with Territorial Focus (PDET), but note the lack of progress on access to land outside of Territorial Area for Training and Reintegration (TATR).

We call on the authorities to resolve the controversies surrounding the full implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Reform Chapter, as well as those differences on the National Reintegration System. These, together with enhanced efforts towards the sustainable reintegration of all former combatants, will ultimately determine the long-term sustainability of peace in Colombia. We also repeat our call for the parties to capitalize on the CSIVI to resolve their differences.

The A3+1 attaches great importance to the Ethnic Chapter of the Final Peace Agreement. It is disheartening that we have not witnessed any action on this important Chapter in spite of recommendations provided through the High-Level Forum of Ethnic issues facing former combatants of indigenous and Afro-Colombian descent. We appeal to the authorities to forge forward with the implementation of this Chapter. We further reiterate the need for regular updates on the progress of this implementation.

Finally, we recognize the efforts by various stakeholders encouraging the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to engage in dialogue. We hope that these parties heed the calls and we reiterate our support for all constructive efforts aimed at consolidating the peace process.

As the peace process approaches its fifth anniversary, we call on the parties to advance with its full implementation in order to reap peace dividends and ensure stability and prosperity for the Colombian nation.

Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines reaffirm our full support for the Colombian peace process and emphasize the paramount importance of the comprehensive implementation of the Final Peace Agreement.

Colombians, the people of Latin America and the Caribbean and the international community can ill-afford for the process to relapse.

I thank you!