Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in Colombia
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Colombia, 26 July 2018, New York.
I want to first thank, like everyone else, Jean Arnault for the excellent work and your briefing today, and I want to reiterate Sweden's full support for your efforts and that of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.
Vice President Naranjo I really welcome you back to this chamber today. We want to thank you, like everyone else has done, for your very important personal contribution to peace in Colombia, and through you want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the President, Jean Manuel Santos, for his leadership as well as that of FARC for their determination to turn a new page, and to deliver peace for the benefit of all Colombians. Indeed, FARC´s transition from guerilla movement to a political party is historic and irreversible. We also congratulate the people of Colombia on the recent elections and the incoming President Duque as he assumes his office soon. The Colombian peace agreement demonstrates that conflicts can be solved with dialogue rather than guns. As such, it is an inspirational example.
Ensuring that the full benefits of the peace process are secured will require a continued investment in its implementation. We welcome that the Special Peace Jurisdiction, a key component of the peace agreement, has started its crucial work. It was designed and agreed with the objective of guaranteeing truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, and the fulfilment of this commitment should help heal the divisions created by decades of conflict.
The continuing violence against and increasing number of killings of human rights defenders, community leaders, FARC members and their families, as outlined in the Secretary-General's report, is of grave concern. It underscores the need for the state to fill the power vacuum, to do its utmost to ensure the respect for human rights and accountability for violations and abuses thereof, and to safeguard that the Rule of Law is to the benefit of all Colombians, in all of Colombia.
We welcome, in this regard, the National Pact signed by both President Santos, President-elect Duque, key state institutions and political parties. We encourage the Government of Colombia to pair its efforts to provide security in conflict-affected areas with a stronger presence of civilian authorities and agencies providing basic services to communities.
The peace agreement has provided a historic opportunity to bring socioeconomic development and rule of law to all parts of the country. To seize this opportunity a redoubled and sustained effort is now needed, from all parts of the state, in support of the wider peace agreement, including comprehensive rural reform, so that it can rapidly deliver tangible peace dividends for all Colombians.
The full political, legal and socioeconomic reintegration of former FARC-EP members is of the utmost importance; this includes progress on the setting up of productive projects, and the key issue of access to land for reintegration.
We would like to highlight the important recommendation in the report on the importance of combatting the drug trade as an integral part of the effort to advance peace, development and the rule of law in former conflict areas. We also want to stress the importance of encouraging the voluntary illicit crop substitution programme, which can provide people with a lawful and predictable income opportunity.
The peace agreement in Colombia is a model when it comes to inclusion. To succeed in consolidating the peace now, the implementation of the peace process must continue to be inclusive. In this regard, I want to highlight the important work the mission has undertaken on gender mainstreaming, as well as its engagement with women's groups and youth's groups in Colombia.
Finally, we welcome the ongoing talks between the Government and the ELN and reiterate that the UN and the Security Council should stand ready to assist the parties in a meaningful way. As a member of GPAAC (Groupo de Paises de Apoyo y Acompamenito y Cooperacion a la mesa Conversaciones) we will assist the process as much as we can.
Over the last two years, the Council has travelled the path of peace with the government and people of Colombia. We look forward to continuing our constructive engagement with the incoming government given the Council's commitment to support implementation of the peace agreement.
Thank you very much.