90-Day Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia

5 Jan 2018

90-Day Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia

Bogotá, 05 January 2018. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has delivered his first 90-day implementation report to the Security Council on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, covering the period 26 September 26 to 26 December 2017. In the report, the Secretary-General takes stock of the implementation of sections 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Peace Agreement related to the reintegration of the FARC-EP and the provision of security guarantees to the FARC-EP and to communities in the areas most affected by the conflict.

In his report, the Secretary-General highlights the tangible impacts  of the peace process on Colombia and the opportunities it has opened up to address historical challenges.

Among the positive developments over the past three months, the report highlights the transition from the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) to legal participation in the political life of the country. “Trading weapons for politics and a chance to compete in elections was a central goal of the peace process. The upcoming months will be key to achieving that goal, and adequate security provision for all is essential”

Regarding security guarantees, the Secretary-General's report recognizes improvements in security indicators at the national level. At the same time, the report reflects concern over the insecurity in rural areas affected by the conflict, particularly those that had significant presence of the FARC-EP prior to their laying down of weapons. The report expresses concern for the growing number of murders of social leaders, human rights defenders, land restitution advocates and promoters of coca substitution programmes, as well as the murders of former members of the FARC-EP. In addition, the report highlights the incident in Tumaco on 5 October 2017, in which seven people were killed and 20 wounded during a coca eradication operation, as one of the most serious incidents since the signing of the Peace Agreement.

The report recognizes a series of measures recently taken by the Government of Colombia to face these security challenges in a "more robust and coordinated manner”. These include, in particular, the adoption of the Horus Plan, which aims to establish a more permanent, visible and effective presence of security forces in the more sensitive areas with a focus on prevention and the protection of communities. The enactment of Decree 2124 of 18 December 18 2017 that strengthens the Early Warning System of the Ombudsman’s Office, Decree 2078 of 7 December  2017 that establishes a  collective protection schemes for communities and leaders, as well as the implementation of the special investigation unit of the Attorney General's Office, with its focus on killings of community leaders. The Secretary-General emphasized that these are “all important developments that will make a difference if applied with determination and the necessary resources”.

The Secretary-General recalls that the successful reintegration of former FARC-EP members into civilian life is essential for stabilizing the former conflict areas and stresses that such reintegration is “an investment in the security and development of rural communities”. In this regard, he stresses importance of the National Reintegration Council adopting its national plan for reintegration, as a fundamental tool to give dynamism and coherence to this process. He also notes that resolution of the legal situation of former FARC-EP members remains an indispensable prerequisite for reintegration and highlights the urgency of resolving pending cases.

The report emphasizes the importance of productive projects for former FARC-EP members and the communities, including agricultural and environmental projects. It recognizes the efforts of the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization, the Territorial Reintegration Councils, and the National Reincorporation Council. It underlines the importance of the Government's decision to promote access to land to which is essential for the viability and sustainability of productive projects. At the same time, it highlights the importance of the participation of departmental and municipal governments, the private sector, academic institutions, and civil society organizations, as well as the international community, in the promotion and resourcing of reintegration initiatives.

In his report, the Secretary-General affirms that there has been modest progress in the inclusion of a gender-sensitive approach to reintegration and security guarantees. The creation of the gender-working group in the National Council for Reincorporation and the technical commission on developing a territorial and gender-sensitive approach of the National Commission of Security Guarantees are highlighted as advances. On the deployment of security forces to priority areas, the report calls for an increase in the number of female personnel in order to help improve responsiveness to the specific security risks facing women.

Finally, the report emphasizes the positive humanitarian impact of the temporary bilateral ceasefire between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN), despite the incidents and obstacles that have arisen. The Secretary-General calls on the parties to carry out every possible effort to consolidate and expand the humanitarian improvements achieved so far.

The Secretary-General concludes that, although there are great challenges for the consolidation of peace in Colombia, he is confident that the dynamics generated in 2017 by the ceasefire and the laying down of weapons can be preserved. He also emphasizes “a large majority of Colombians, including those who do not fully identify with the Peace Agreement, are aware of the historic opportunity and willing to embrace it, regardless of political affiliation."

The Executive Office of the UN Secretary General released the report on Friday, 5 January.  On Wednesday, 10 January, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, will meet with the Security Council in New York.