Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Colombia

National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Colombia, 19 April 2018, New York.

Turning to Colombia, Mr President, and I also extend my thanks to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault, for his valuable briefing to the Council. Let me assure you, Mr Arnault, of Sweden's continued strong support for your efforts and the work of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.

I would also like to acknowledge and welcome the presence of the Vice-President of Colombia, General Óscar Naranjo, and the Foreign Minister of Colombia, Maria Ángela Holguín. Let me take this opportunity to thank them and President Santos for their personal commitment to the peace process.

Mr President,

We commend the strong commitment to peace of both parties, and their efforts to overcome challenges in the implementation of the peace agreement. Last year saw the successful laying down of arms and the conversion of the FARC-EP into a political party. Congressional elections, on 11 March this year, were the most inclusive and least violent in decades. This demonstrates how peace is already benefitting Colombia and Colombians.

Recognising and addressing the legacy of conflict is essential for reconciliation and building peaceful futures. We welcome that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has begun its crucial work.

It was designed and agreed with the priority objective of guaranteeing truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition. We hope that procedures are rapidly agreed upon.

According to the Secretary-General's report, threats, violence and killings of human rights defenders, community leaders, FARC members and their families, have continued. This is deeply worrying and underscores the need for the state to fill the power vacuum and safeguard the Rule of Law and respect for human rights.

Mr President,

The full political, legal and socioeconomic reintegration of former FARC-EP members is of the utmost importance; this includes progress on the application of amnesty provisions, productive projects, and the key issue of access to land for reintegration. In this regard, we hope that the decree allowing access to land to former combatants will be promptly approved.

A sustained effort from all parts of the state in support of the wider peace agreement, including comprehensive rural reform, is needed so that the agreement can rapidly deliver tangible peace dividends for all Colombians. A stronger presence of civilian authorities and agencies providing goods and services to conflict affected communities will be helpful in this regard.

Women played an important role in making peace in Colombia. The gender perspective must now to be mainstreamed in all aspects of the implementation, not least regarding reintegration and security.

We call on the parties to ensure that protection efforts cover the specific challenges regarding the protection of women, including through measures for enhanced prevention and response to gender-based violence, as recommended in the Secretary-General's report.

Mr President,

We welcome the resumption of talks between the Government and the ELN and reiterate that the UN and the Security Council must stand ready to assist the parties in monitoring a renewed ceasefire. Sweden as a member of accompanying countries will assist the process in any way we can.

Mr President,

Colombia also demonstrates how a united Council can contribute to peace. At this critical time in the implementation of the peace agreement, the United Nations and Colombia's international partners must continue lend their full support to the parties.

The Colombian Peace Agreement represents the culmination of an historic process, which brought to an end over 50 years of conflict and violence. It shows that, through dialogue and diplomacy, even the most entrenched conflicts can be brought to an end, setting an irreversible course for peace. By remaining committed to the peace agreement, the parties are keeping faith with the hopes and aspirations of the Colombian people for the future of their country. We must continue to do all we can to support.

Thank you