The United Nations envoy stated that Colombia is intensifying its efforts to achieve significant peace objectives.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, informed ambassadors at the Security Council that over the weekend, the Government transferred land to approximately 500 recipients in southern Colombia. The beneficiaries included former FARC-EP fighters, farmers, and indigenous community members.
“He stated that these optimistic occasions are becoming more frequent nowadays, as the Colombian government is addressing this crucial and long-awaited aspect of the Peace Agreement with greater vigor.”
In November 2016, the Final Peace Agreement was officially signed. It tackled various important matters, such as establishing a ceasefire and disarming, promoting development in rural areas, ensuring political involvement, and holding individuals accountable. This year also signifies the midway point for the 15-year plan to implement the Agreement.
The head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Mr. Ruiz Massieu, emphasized a project that has been supported by the organization. This project has helped women who were former combatants to increase their income and that of the community through making and selling jewelry from artisanal mines.
Former soldiers and members of the community have collaborated to plant trees in order to combat deforestation.
He also mentioned that efforts have been jeopardized due to the presence of illegal armed groups.
Armed groups activity
Since his previous presentation to the Council, Mr. Ruiz Massieu also condemned the deaths of two ex-members of FARC-EP. This brings the total number of former fighters killed since the signing of the Agreement to 400.
He stated that the situation is completely unacceptable and requires immediate and specific actions from the authorities to ensure their safety, as well as that of social leaders and human rights defenders.
Dignified living conditions
The high-ranking UN representative reflected on his recent visit to the former Training and Reintegration Area of Carrizal, located in the mountainous Antioquia region. This area is home to over 50 former members of FARC-EP and their families, who now live alongside members of the surrounding community.
According to Mr. Ruiz Massieu, in that area and other similar locations in the countryside, it is impressive to see former combatants and communities working together to better their lives and achieve the changes outlined in the Final Peace Agreement.
He restated his request for the authorities to guarantee decent living conditions in the new area and to prioritize the safety and welfare of those who choose to stay behind during the relocation process.
Upcoming local elections
Additionally, Mr. Ruiz Massieu provided the Security Council with updates on the forthcoming regional elections in the nation. These elections have encountered incidents of violence in various locations.
“Regrettably, the electoral campaign has been marred by violence in multiple regions, causing disruption for parties of all political beliefs, including former fighters and members of the Comunes party.”
He implored the government to ensure that all candidates and voters have equal opportunities to take part in the elections in a manner that is inclusive and safe across the entire nation.
He stated that this would enhance a concrete result of the Final Agreement.
To wrap up, Mr. Ruiz Massieu expressed that the conflict in Colombia was previously viewed as unresolvable.
He observed that the current peacebuilding initiatives were accomplished by persisting through significant obstacles for many years.
Amidst global tensions, the situation in Colombia serves as a reminder that even long-standing conflicts can be resolved through communication and a reminder to never give up on the pursuit of peace, stated Mr. Ruiz Massieu.