Debate on the situation in the middle east including the Palestinian question
Ambassador Harold Agyeman
Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations
January 20, 2022, Security Council Chamber
New York City
THE COLOMBIAN PEACE PROCESS
(THE UNITED NATIONS VERIFICATION MISSION IN COLOMBIA)
I thank Special Representative Carlos Ruiz Massieu for his informative briefing on recent developments in Colombia and for bringing further clarity to the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on the verification mission in Colombia. I also thank Ms. Luz Marina Giraldo, Former FARC-EP combatant and leader in reintegration initiatives for her useful perspectives on the situation in Colombia, which will enrich Council’s deliberations. It is a pleasure to also welcome the participation in this meeting of H.E. Mr. Emilio José Archila, Presidential Advisor for Stabilization and Consolidation of the Republic of Colombia.
Two (2) months ago, the people of Colombia and the international community marked an important milestone in their worthy search for a durable and sustainable peace. The commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the historic 2016 final agreement opened a positive chapter for all Colombians and cements further their commitment to ensure that the peace process takes deep roots in Colombia.
The valuable lessons learned over the past five (5) years should reinforce our conviction that peacebuilding, peace consolidation and genuine reconciliation can be achieved in incremental steps and with determined efforts. There are no magic wands.
Ghana therefore commends the Government of Colombia (headed by President Iván Duque Marquez), leaders of the Communes Party, the heads of the transitional justice system, leaders of civil society, victims of the armed conflict, former FARC-EP combatants, state institutions, academia, the international community and the wider Colombian society for actively engaging in the peacebuilding efforts.
We are pleased to observe that the Colombian people are using state structures and institutions to foster dialogue and build trust among themselves. Strong, vibrant and inclusive state institutions, as we know, have the enduring capacity to safeguard the interest of citizens and are well placed to protect the rights and dignity of all persons, especially vulnerable persons and minorities. It is critical for all actors involved in the Colombian peace process to recognise that they have a shared responsibility to not only consolidate the peace but to ensure that all Colombians, without exception, enjoy the tangible benefits and dividends of the peace agreement.
In the months ahead, the support of this Council will be vital in addressing the lingering challenges and risks to the Colombian peace process, which for many still remains fragile. The full and comprehensive implementation of all the provisions of the Final Agreement will be critical. There should be no room for cherry-picking as that can be counter-productive and derail the successful implementation of the Final Agreement.
In this regard, Ghana urges the prioritization of the gender provisions of the Agreement. The parties to the Final Agreement must work together to protect the participation and enhance the role of women peace leaders involved in the peace process. Women leaders in Colombia act as peace facilitators and collaborators and are not a burden to the process.
Secondly, the economic and social reintegration of indigenous and Afro-Colombian former combatants, including all vulnerable groups seriously affected by the armed conflict must be accelerated;
Thirdly, there must be full cooperation and respect for the Transitional Justice System as a key guarantor for lasting peace and reconciliation;
Fourthly, we encourage the Colombian Government and indeed all actors to ensure inclusive political participation and progress on all institutional and democratic reforms as they constitute a veritable way of building a stable and lasting peace. The upcoming congressional and presidential elections this year provide yet another unique opportunity for Colombians to help drive forward their democratic aspirations. The campaigning period should be devoid of divisive acts conducive to violence; and
Fifthly, we are concerned that even in a post-agreement period, indigenous and Afro-Colombian former combatants including civilians still suffer the consequences of violence. We want to state that there is no alternative to a complete cessation of hostilities. We strongly call on all dissident groups and other illegal armed groups to abandon their armed struggle and embrace dialogue by joining the peace process without any pre-conditions and avoid taking the country back into needless conflict.
Lastly, we urge the United Nations Verification Mission and the entire UN Country Team in Colombia to continue leveraging their respective mandates and programmes to support the peace implementation efforts, including on matters of reintegration, security guarantees, transitional justice, rural reform and alternative livelihoods.
I thank you for your kind attention.