Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on Colombia
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Colombia, 11 September 2017, New York.
I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault, for his comprehensive briefing this morning. Mr Special Representative, you can remain certain of Sweden's continued strong support for your efforts, for the UN Mission in Colombia, and for the second mission as described in the Secretary-General's report.
Sweden commends the strong commitment to peace of both parties in Colombia, and their efforts to overcome challenges to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
A committed and sustained effort is now needed from the state at the central, regional and local levels, as well as the UN system and the international community, in support of the peace agreement. This must include comprehensive rural reform, so that all Colombians can share in the tangible dividends of peace. The political, economic, and social reincorporation of former combatants into society is an integral part of this process. It is only by creating sustainable opportunities for the former combatants that a sustainable peace can be consolidated.
Violence against Human Rights Defenders and community leaders demonstrates the urgent need for the second UN mission to also verify the implementation of personal and collective security guarantees, as requested by the parties.
We welcome the focus on the second mission having a strong presence locally and regionally, which must be robust enough to allow proper verification of security and reintegration. We also welcome the strong emphasis on coordination and cooperation with the UN Country Team. We would also like to thank the SRSG for the work that the mission has undertaken regarding the inclusion and participation of women, which, as the report points out, this has been an "important contributing factor for the success of the mission". We welcome the continuation of this work. Sweden is pleased to be able to contribute to the current UN mission and we stand ready to continue to support the succeeding mission with personnel.
We welcome the recently announced ceasefire between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The fact that the parties have indicated that they want the UN to verify the implementation of the ceasefire is testimony to the success of the current Verification Mission and your leadership. The UN and the Security Council must now stand prepared to assist the parties with this work.
We note the commitment by ELN to cease the recruitment of minors. As the Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict we would like to highlight the Working Group's conclusions on Colombia from February this year which, inter alia, encouraged the parties to ensure that child protection is given due consideration as early as possible in the peace process, and is a core priority.
We know from the work of the UN Mission and its successor, that the peace in Colombia is now taking root. As the people of Colombia and their leaders continue to consolidate the gains made, we must all continue to stand by their side. Sweden is committed to doing so.