Swedish Statement 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, 10 October 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you very much SRSG Jean Arnault for your briefing today and for the very valuable work you’re doing. We continue to support the UN mission in Colombia very strongly.
I also want to welcome the presence of Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo. We are grateful for your commitment to the peace effort and we know your personal dedication to this issue based on a very long experience including as a former peace commissioner.
The Colombian Peace Agreement is the result of a historic process aimed at ending over 50 years of conflict and violence. Colombia has proved that through leadership, dialogue and diplomacy, even the most difficult conflicts can be brought to an end. At a time when too many conflicts are getting more entrenched, Colombia is an important inspiration to the world. It is also a clear example of how a united Security Council can contribute to peace.
So, President Duque and the leadership of the FARC should be praised for their sustained political will and dedication to the peace process. Their determination to implement the agreement has provided an opportunity to bring peace, socioeconomic development, security and rule of law to all parts of Colombia.
Even though an irreversible course for peace has been set out, many challenges remain. As very often after a complex and longstanding conflict has been resolved, this is to be expected. Continued engagement of all parties is now crucial. To address the underlying causes that have fueled conflict and violence for so many years outstanding issues must be solved. We are in this regard pleased to see that appointing members of the Commission for Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Final Agreement was among the first actions of the new government. The CSIVI is without a doubt the appropriate forum for taking these discussions forward.
Following conflict, it is often challenging to strike the right balance between peace and justice, as Jean Arnault just said. At the same time this is an issue of decisive importance for sustainable peace. The Special Peace Jurisdiction, with its objectives of guaranteeing truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition is a key component of the agreement. Its independence and autonomy must be fully respected. Cooperation by all parties continues to be essential to enable progress on this central aspect of the peace agreement.
The transformation of FARC into a political party has been a central part of the peace process. For the agreement to remain credible, it is critical that effective and adequate protection can be ensured. This is also an important aspect if the agreement is to serve as a model for other efforts, including for the process with ELN. Killings of human rights defenders, community leaders, FARC members and their families reportedly continue unabated. This is of grave concern, and underscores the need for the state to fill the power vacuum and safeguard the Rule of Law. We therefore welcome the “Pact for Life and for the Protection of Social Leaders and Human Rights Defenders” adopted on the 23rd of August.
Bringing security, development and rule of law to conflict affected areas is critical. We welcome President Duque’s emphasis on a more focused and tightly coordinated action by state agencies. A stronger presence of civilian authorities and agencies providing services to communities should be paired with efforts to improve security in conflict-affected areas. Necessary resources must be made available for bringing Colombian institutions to all parts of the country, as well as mobilizing civil society, communities and the private sector. The international community should give all possible support to this endeavor.
We continue to stress the importance of full political, legal and socioeconomic reintegration of former FARC-EP members. This includes implementing productive projects as well as addressing the key issue of access to land. We welcome president Duque’s firm support for more effective reintegration.
On the ELN we welcome continued direct contacts between them and the Government. Sweden as a member of the Grupo de Países de Apoyo will assist the process as much as we can.
We welcome the Government’s and in particular vice president Marta Lucía Ramírez’ commitment to maintaining dialogue with women’s groups. Effectively implementing the gender provisions of the peace agreement remains crucial for achieving sustained peace.
We also hope that the UN mission in Colombia will become a best practice case study when it comes to youth and the implementation of resolution 2419, which we follow with great interest.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
Colombia has traveled far on its path towards peace. It is now crucial to stay the course and all parties must continue to do their part. Unwavering support of the international community, including by this Council, remains critical. We must collectively ensure that this historic opportunity can bring peace and prosperity to all Colombians - and that Colombia continue to serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world.
I thank you very much.