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Statement at UNSC Briefing on Colombia

Thank you very much Madam President.

I want to start by warmly welcoming Presidential Counsellor Archila to the Council. It is good that you are joining us here today, you are very welcome. Renewed appreciation of course to Special Representative Ruiz Massieu and your team, thank you. Señora Giraldo, I wanted to say to you that your powerful words to us will not be forgotten, and in response to your last question, neither will you.

Thank you indeed. 

I also wish to congratulate the parties to the agreement for standing together in November to commemorate peace and the impressive results of five years of communal effort.  Above all, I want to of course congratulate the Colombian people for their continued commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation.

Madam President, today I will focus my intervention on three important and interconnected aspects of Colombia’s ongoing journey to sustainable peace –

First, the year ahead will see important advances in Transitional Justice.  We stand with the institutions as they deepen their work on truth, justice and reconciliation in a manner that centres on victims and survivors. In particular, we acknowledge the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, and look forward to the final report of the Truth Commission.  The healing engendered by truth and reconciliation is essential to, and will often offer a foundation for an inclusive, stable and lasting peace for all Colombians.

My Second point is that ahead of the upcoming elections and forthcoming transition, we cannot overstate the importance of the ongoing implementation of the peace accord being recognised as non-negotiable, non-partisan, a common value. We urge the continued prioritisation of the comprehensive implementation of the peace agreement, including through the adoption of urgent legislation in its support. There is no time to lose.

The creation of the transitional electoral districts for peace is an important moment, as well as, we belive, a truly powerful expression of self-determination for victims and survivors. We are pleased to see 202 women stepping up, stepping forward in these districts. This is encouraging.

Recognising just how complex the process can be, we welcome the Government’s support to these new districts. We also encourage the Government and all relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts to ensure the smooth functioning of the elections and the safety of all participants. We further recommend that the Government convene the high-level mechanism to this end.

Third point is that we continue to be concerned at the unacceptable levels of insecurity in too many areas of Colombia. Threats and intimidation by those who profit from insecurity and crisis cannot be allowed to undermine democracy and imperil the hard won building of long lasting peace. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the recent attacks on Colombian security forces by illegal armed groups.

Madam President, we categorically condemn the killing of 10 more former combatants, including indigenous woman leader Maria Muñoz who had already endured the killing of her husband last June, and the killing of a further 34 Human Rights Defenders. The shocking killing last Friday of teenage indigenous environmental activist, Beiner David Cucuñame, a 14-year-old boy, is really a travesty. The continued targeting and killing of HRDs and former combatants simply cannot be countenanced. Such brutality must be addressed and impunity ended.

Madam President. It may sound clichéd to say that the comprehensive implementation of the peace agreement will not provide all the solutions required to end insecurity. However, it does have the power to address many of the contributory challenges. The agreement can act as a roadmap to address many outstanding issues of concern and to ensure state presence in historically neglected areas. Above all, it provides much needed space for continued dialogue, fundamental to ensuring a sustainable and peaceful future for all Colombians.

Madam President,

In conclusion, I recall the Secretary General’s words following his recent visit - the international community has a moral obligation to ensure that this inspirational peace process is successful. As Colombia now moves to the next phase of implementation, Ireland reiterates our continued support as partner in peace.

Thank you Madam President.

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