Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at the UNSC briefing on Colombia

Thank you, Mister President,

We would like to thank all the briefers for their informative and valuable interventions today. I would like to express Estonia’s strong support for the work of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. We warmly welcome H.E Marta Lucia Ramirez, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia.

The fifth anniversary of the Final Peace Agreement on 24 November gives an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and identify areas that require more effort. We recognise the positive developments and efforts made during this period towards sustainable peace. The Peace Agreement has had a significant impact on the country’s development. It has not only led to the end of the conflict but also formed the norms and institutions that are needed in order to reach lasting peace. It has also transformed the government´s public policy approach regarding those local areas that are most affected by violence. The peace process has proved that peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts can mitigate local conflict dynamics.

However, challenges remain and participation by all stakeholders throughout the process is required, including at the local level.

The main challenges hindering the implementation of the Peace Agreement are linked to dynamics of violence. We are concerned about the increase of violence against social leaders, human rights defenders, former combatants and communities – 158 killings were reported to OHCHR in 2021. Almost 300 former combatants have been killed since the signing of the Peace Agreement. Violence against these individuals is hindering the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement. Fighting impunity is key to stopping violence. It is essential to bring perpetrators to justice. Security needs to be ensured to all parts of the country and vulnerable groups of the society. As rural areas are disproportionately more affected, we call on the Government to increase its presence in those areas. Communities need protection from violence by illegal armed groups and basic services need to be ensured.

We welcome the progress made during the last reporting period with regards to transitional justice, particularly the work made by the Truth Commission. Also, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has progressed with cases involving both FARC and the Security Forces, including the cases of forced recruitment and use of children in conflict.

The victims need to stay in the centre of the process. It is important to improve the victims’ participation in the peace process. The inclusion of different gender and ethnic groups is crucial. Furthermore, we reiterate the importance of guaranteeing the independent functioning of all institutions established under the Peace Agreement, including transitional justice mechanisms.

Finally, we encourage all parties to make good use of the tools available to pursue a genuine dialogue at both national and local level. I would like to express Estonia´s full support for the implementation of the Peace Agreement in its entirety.

Thank you!