Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting

9 Apr 2024

Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting


Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting


Thank you, Madam President,

I appreciate this opportunity to brief the Security Council on this symbolic day in Colombia dedicated each year to the victims of the armed conflict. They should always be at the centre of our efforts to build peace in Colombia and elsewhere.

I welcome the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Gilberto Murillo, and express once again my appreciation for the continued support of the Government of Colombia to the work of the Verification Mission.

I welcome today the participation of Ms. Marcela Sánchez, from the non-governmental organization Colombia Diversa, which gives visibility to the impact of the conflict on women and LGBTQ persons and their important role as peacebuilders.  I would also like to recognize the attendance today of Roberto Vidal, President of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and recognize his leadership at this important moment of the Jurisdiction.


Madam President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

Colombia has reached an important juncture in relation to its ambitions of implementing the 2016 Peace Agreement and of advancing its ongoing dialogue initiatives. As the Security Council was able to observe firsthand during its recent visit, there is deep desire for peace in Colombia that extends from highest levels of Government and State institutions, across civil society and to vulnerable communities in the regions still afflicted by conflict.

The key challenge for transforming that aspiration into reality is to channel the abundant political will and impressive drive of civil society into ever more tangible dividends of peace on the ground. This effort will require Colombians to overcome divisions in an effort that should unite them across the political spectrum based on a common interest in securing a peaceful future.


Madam President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

The transitional justice system established in the Agreement is a testament to the trust built by the parties at the time to resolve an armed conflict that affected Colombia for almost half a century. The system has a delicate balance whose maintenance is essential to uphold the principle of centrality of the victims and to achieve the longed-for transition to peace.

As part of this system, the Truth Commission played an essential role in clarifying the historical truth about the conflict, complemented by the mandate of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP), focused on investigating the most emblematic and representative cases of the conflict, and the patterns associated with the most serious crimes, as well as on prosecuting those most responsible for carrying them out.

The responsibility of the SJP is intrinsically related to the transition from a situation of war to a situation of peace. This is a task of monumental importance, which requires weighing multiple elements: rigor with celerity, as well as the rights of the victims and the legal security of those under the Jurisdiction, honoring the commitments acquired in the Agreement. Autonomy and independence in decision-making have been fundamental for the SJP to carry out its mandate and will continue to be so. Its framework, on the other hand, is determined by the balances established by the parties to the Agreement and formalized by law.

I would like to welcome the fact that the SJP is getting closer to issuing its first sentences. Victims require that this be done without further delay. Given the recent difficulties, I take this opportunity to echo the call of the Secretary-General to all actors involved to foster the best possible conditions for this culminating and long-awaited moment, all of this through constructive dialogue in order to overcome obstacles and find solutions within the framework of the Agreement.  

Colombian men and women have given us multiple examples of resolving conflicts through dialogue and I trust that this will not be the exception.


Madam President,

While thousands of former FARC-EP members, who laid down their weapons in good faith, have stood by their commitments as per the Agreement, the need for concrete and sustainable progress in its implementation has become ever more pressing with time. In this regard, I recommend better use of the architecture for the implementation of the Agreement, including the Commission for the Follow-Up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CSIVI). In addition, I call upon the Government to finalize the legal instruments to allow the swift implementation of the Comprehensive Reintegration Programme as well as of the National Reintegration System in order to provide these men and women with certainty and consolidate their transition into civilian life.

Security also constitutes a key component of the reintegration of the former combatants and continues to be of the utmost concern. Regrettably, eleven more excombatants have been killed since the last report was issued. And as the Security Council heard during its recent visit, social leaders, as well as entire communities, particularly Indigenous and Afro-Colombians, still suffer the full impact of persisting violence and the limited presence of State institutions in various regions. In my recent visits to Cauca, Valle del Cauca and Norte de Santander, this call for security was a common plea from ethnic groups, local authorities, civil society, as well as the private sector.

The election last month of a new Attorney-General, Luz Adriana Camargo, provides an opportunity to investigate and prosecute with renewed vigour those responsible for crimes against former combatants and social leaders. I met recently with her and I was encouraged that her immediate priorities include the strengthening of the Special Investigation Unit created by the Agreement, as well as broader efforts to combat the criminal structures responsible for the violence.


Madam President, Disntiguidos Members of the Council,

The ongoing bilateral ceasefires are an important step towards building confidence in the negotiations and reducing violence in the country. However, they are not a substitute for the State’s security policies aimed at providing protection and welfare to conflict-affected communities. On the contrary, these efforts should be complementary. Many of these policies are contemplated in the Agreement, such as the policy to dismantle armed groups, or the Government’s defense policy with its human security approach. I trust that progress will be made in their implementation without further delay.

In a challenging context for the negotiation table, with some significant divergences to be resolved between the parties, the Government and the National Liberation Army will meet this week in Caracas, Venezuela. In this opportunity, I hope that they can assess the implementation of what has been agreed to date and make decisions to advance the agenda agreed in the Mexico Agreement. I trust that the parties, with the firm support of the international community, will be able to overcome the difficulties of the current situation and reaffirm to Colombian society the commitment of the national negotiation table to reach definitive agreements with tangible benefits for the communities.

Regarding the dialogues between the Government and the group known as Estado Mayor Central (EMC), I urge the parties to remain focused on resolving their differences at the negotiation table, despite the current difficulties, bearing in mind the unique opportunity that currently exists to contribute to a different future. To achieve this, it is essential that they build on the progress made so far and give clear signs of their will for peace. Any hostility against the civilian population sends the opposite message. It erodes trust between the parties and society, as evidenced by the condemnable acts of violence against the Indigenous population in Cauca that led to the partial suspension of the ceasefire by the national Government.


Distinguished Members of the Council,

A roadmap for dealing with some of the structural causes of conflict in Colombia was laid out in the first chapter of the Agreement on rural reform. It aims to resolve –amongst other matters– the historical inequities of land tenure that have endured for decades. Among its priorities are the redistribution, formalization and restitution of land, as well as the delivery of public goods and services to rural Colombia.  

While there is still a long way to go to meet the ambitious goals of the Peace Agreement, the Secretary-General in his report recognizes significant increases in budget allocations and efforts of the current Government to deliver land and resolve land-related conflicts. A continuous drive to implement these provisions, backed with substantial investment and the coordinated engagement of all relevant ministries and State institutions, is needed to overcome inequalities that have long fueled cycles of violence in the countryside.

Similarly, the Agreement’s ethnic chapter and gender provisions seek to address the longstanding exclusion and disproportionate impact of the conflict on Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, as well as on women and LGBTQ persons. I look forward to concrete results towards the goal of achieving 60 per cent of implementation of the ethnic chapter by 2026.

I also trust that the soon-to-be-launched national action plan for Security Council resolution 1325 will help further the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the country. It will be important to ensure overall coherence between the plan and the gender provisions of the Agreement. Furthermore, the principles of the plan regarding women’s participation and the crafting of agreements that account for the gender dimensions of conflict and peacebuilding, should be duly considered and reflected in ongoing dialogue initiatives with armed groups.


Madam President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

The visit by the Council in February was an expression of support for the creative and courageous efforts underway in Colombia. I am certain that the visit provided much-needed encouragement to all sectors of society to persevere in their struggle for peace. 

However difficult and demanding of patience, Colombia’s decision to prioritize dialogue as a principal means to resolve conflict sets the country apart as a model that is more relevant than ever in today’s world. I trust that this Council will echo our calls to encourage all actors in Colombia to redouble their efforts to implement the 2016 Peace Agreement and to pursue dialogue as a way to further consolidate peace in the country. 


I Thank you, Madam President.