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Colombia’s Peace Efforts Gain UN Recognition Amid Challenges


UN Colombia total peace
Peace Talks. Credit: Wikimedia / Commons-CC-BY-2.0

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a report released on January 8, 2024 by the United Nations Verification Mission in Bogota, acknowledged Colombia’s determined efforts towards achieving total peace. This recognition comes as part of the ongoing evaluation of the peace process in Colombia, highlighting the nation’s progress and challenges since the 2016 Final Agreement.

Progress in implementing the 2016 Final Peace Agreement

The report notes the completion of key planning and design points, particularly in the context of the Comprehensive Rural Reform and the reintegration process. It expressed confidence that the entities responsible for implementation would translate these into concrete results. The Rural Reform remains a top priority for the government, with new regulations to accelerate land access and a substantial increase in budget. The report also noted progress in land purchase, formalization, and distribution, emphasizing the need for additional efforts to provide beneficiaries with the necessary support to make these lands productive.

Significant steps to peace in reintegration and reduction in violence

The approval of the Comprehensive Reintegration Program was highlighted as a significant step towards providing a long-term perspective to the process. Nearly 80% of ex-combatants are involved in 5,691 productive projects, with the government purchasing 4,725 hectares of land for them. Government dialogues with armed groups have contributed to improved indicators in specific areas. For instance, a report from the Investigation and Accusation Unit of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace indicated a de-escalation of conflict in the first ten months of 2023, resulting in fewer attacks against public forces, fewer confrontations, and fewer civilian casualties.

Despite these advances, the report acknowledged that violence from armed and criminal groups continues to severely impact communities and undermine implementation efforts. Economic dynamics and social and territorial control-related crimes persist or have increased. Violence against ex-combatants remains a concern, with 11 former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (all men) murdered, marking a 26.7% decrease from the previous period. Since the signing of the Final Agreement, the total number of ex-combatant homicides stands at 406, including 11 women, 57 Afro-Colombians, and 49 Indigenous individuals. The Secretary-General called on authorities to redouble their efforts to protect community leaders and signatories of the Peace Agreement.

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