The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to visit Colombia on February 7. This visit was confirmed recently through an official statement from the Colombian government. The delegation will arrive at the invitation of the Colombian government. The visit commences in Bogota, where the council will engage in meetings with various institutions and representatives from civil society. Afterwards, the delegation plans to embark on two trips to different regions within the country.
Throughout the three-day agenda, spaces for dialogue will be promoted with representatives from the government, peace agreement signatories, and civil society, as well as with delegates from the implementation bodies established by the 2016 Peace Agreement.
Since 2017, the United Nations Security Council had not made an official visit to Colombia. In the May of that year, during the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos, a visit was conducted, led by the ambassadors of Uruguay and the United Kingdom, along with Special Representative Jean Arnault, who was then serving as the head of the United Nations Mission in Colombia.
Verification of the 2016 Peace Accords
The primary purpose of the visit is to verify the Peace Agreements that Colombia signed with the now-disbanded FARC in 2016. Throughout President Ivan Duque’s tenure (2019-2022), there were no meetings with the Security Council. The current administration seeks to build on the initiatives begun under President Santos, who inked the agreement eight years prior.
“The UN Security Council will be welcomed in Colombia. The government supports the integral application of the peace agreement with the FARC: agrarian reform, transformation of excluded territories and integral truth under the jurisdiction of the JEP,” said President Petro about the visit.
Last weekend, in preparation for the upcoming visit, Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva convened with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Uganda. It is important to note that Leyva has been provisionally suspended from his post by the judiciary this week, and his successor has yet to be appointed.
Support for peace in Colombia
The UN Security Council has reiterated its ‘full and unanimous support’ for the peace process in Colombia. The member states of the international body commended the increased attention to the rural reform provisions of the Peace Accord. These are key to addressing structural issues at the heart of the conflict. Progress was welcomed, including the continued acquisition and handover of land to small farmers and ethnic communities, budget increases, and comprehensive rural development assistance.
They also reiterated their strong concern over the continued threats and violence faced by ex-combatants and social leaders, and called for greater implementation of the action plan of the Comprehensive Program of Guarantees for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders.
The world body welcomed the Colombian Government’s public commitment to accelerate the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter by signing a national pact to complete 60 percent of its implementation by 2026 and urged the government to take all necessary measures to fulfill its promise.
Encourage the expansion of dialogues
The Security Council has expressed approval of the Colombian government’s efforts to expand dialogue with other illegal armed groups, aiming to achieve a broader peace through dialogue and the continued comprehensive implementation of the 2016 Final Peace Agreement. In this context, it is closely monitoring the peace negotiations between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), along with the parties’ commitment to renewing their bilateral ceasefire.
Members of the Security Council encouraged all participants in the peace negotiations to negotiate in good faith, sharing the goal of reducing violence and further alleviating the suffering of the civilian population. They also welcomed the important work of the National Participation Committee in strengthening civil society’s participation in the process. They expressed hope for progress in the dialogues and in the continuation and strengthening of the ceasefire agreements between the government and the armed group known as the Central Staff (EMC).