Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Colombia
Statement14 October 2021
Thank you, Mr. President.
I would like to start by warmly welcoming among us Vice President and Foreign Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez today. It is good to have you with us again Your Excellency, you are very welcome. I also would like to thank our Special Representative, Special Representative Ruiz Massieu, Carlos, for your briefing and for the continued work of the UN Verification Mission. Señora Soto and Señora Peñaranda– thank you both very much for your powerful briefings on the distinct experiences of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women. We truly appreciated hearing from you today.
Today, we are reflecting on five years since the signing of the Colombian Peace Accord. That is five years of peace, reconciliation and progress that really has served as an example of what can be achieved when peace is prioritised and protected, in other words when peace is given a chance.
Ireland extends our warm congratulations to the people of Colombia on this anniversary. While it was the signatories who put pen to paper, this accord and its dividends belong to every Colombian. We welcome and encourage the continued commitment by the Government and signatories to its comprehensive implementation.
Today’s milestone marks only one third of the timeframe projected to implement the accord. Much remains to be done. It is more important than ever that the international community support Colombia in realising fully the promise of peace, in the face of multifaceted challenges. Ireland will continue to keep the faith and stand by your side.
In Ireland, we know the delivery of the provisions of a negotiated agreement comes with challenges. But we also know that peace cannot be secured by turning back. All parties must remain committed and look ahead.
I wish to highlight three areas where sustained efforts are particularly necessary.
We welcome warmly the Government’s enactment of the transitional electoral districts for peace. The inclusion of victims’ voices from conflict-affected regions in parliament is a powerful moment for political reintegration efforts. However, threats and intimidation of candidates, across the political spectrum, are worrying. Efforts must continue to ensure the safe and meaningful participation of women and youth in the political process.
We remain deeply concerned at the continued targeting of ex-combatants. We encourage the Government to reinforce protection guarantees for ex-combatants and to adopt a gender-sensitive approach to ensure the provision of equal and adequate protections to women, within the scheme. We are also concerned at reports of violence against Human Rights Defenders, who deserve to work in all communities without fear.
I wish to reiterate again our concern about the heavy toll of violence, forced displacements and confinements on indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations as well as on other community and social leaders, I want to highlight in particular the impact on women and youth leaders.
We encourage all efforts to support these communities, expand the state presence in these municipalities, dismantle armed groups and bring perpetrators to justice.
Continued and committed dialogue in Colombia is essential. We welcome the engagement by all parties with CSIVI [SEE-SEE-VEE], and we appreciate the UN Mission’s work to help overcome difficulties and operationalise this valuable platform. As Colombia approaches elections, spaces for dialogue about implementing the agreement are more important than ever and need to be preserved.
Truth and reconciliation processes have the power to unlock grievances and help put all citizens on a shared path to progress. Colombia’s peace accord has been truly innovative, including in putting victims of the conflict at the centre. Ireland welcomes the extension of the Truth Commission’s mandate.
We also reiterate our support for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. Its investigations of conflict-related sexual violence and the forced recruitment and use of children in conflict are critically important. These heinous crimes have caused some of the deepest wounds. Justice for survivors, even after decades, will facilitate healing.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
On this landmark anniversary, it is important to celebrate the progress made. At a time when so many conflicts around the world appear intractable, the Colombian accord stands as an example of what we can achieve. Like any peace process, it has required courage, patience and trust. There have been challenges and setbacks, and there is still a long path ahead.
But looking forward, today we should be emboldened by the gains of the process. All parties should redouble their efforts to protect this hard won peace by ensuring full implementation of the agreement. Ireland, and this Council, will continue to support you and the Colombian people as you continue on this journey.
Thank you, Mr President.