Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting

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12 Oct 2022

Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Security Council Meeting

Briefing by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, SRSG and Head
of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia
Security Council Meeting


Thank you, Mr. President

Mr. President, I thank you very much for the opportunity to present the most recent report of the Secretary-General on Colombia, and to update the Security Council regarding recent important developments since it was published.

It is an honor to share this session, for the first time, with Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, who has dedicated much of his life and his career to the search for peace in Colombia. I acknowledge the presence of the new Permanent Representative of Colombia, Ambassador Leonor Zalabata, and I especially thank the Government of Colombia for the constructive work with the United Nations during the first two months of the new administration.

Similarly, I welcome the participation of Elizabet Moreno, an Afro-Colombian leader from Chocó department who knows, first-hand, the harshness of the conflict and who embodies the will of communities to put an end to violence through dialogue.

Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

Colombia is going through a moment of renewed expectations, as a result of President Gustavo Petro’s bold proposal of “total peace”. This policy is anchored in the comprehensive implementation of the Final Peace Agreement with the former FARC-EP. In addition, it seeks to deepen peace by resuming dialogues with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and by approaching other armed actors in order to put an end to the multiple expressions of violence that continue to hit communities in several regions of the country.

As stated by the Secretary-General in his report, we are encouraged that the new Government’s approach prioritizes dialogue as the main recourse to resolve social and armed conflict; focuses security strategies on the protection of vulnerable communities; acknowledges the interdependence between lasting solutions to violence and overcoming historic inequalities, especially in rural and impoverished areas; and promotes the active participation of broad and diverse sectors of Colombian society.


Mr. President, Distinguished Members,

As we commemorate yet another anniversary of Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, it is important to remember that the peace process in Colombia has been an example in this matter. The search for “total peace” is therefore an opportunity to continue building on this foundation, ensuring the broad and effective participation of women.

From Chocó to Catatumbo, from Putumayo to southern Bolívar, it is these women and their communities who confront and resist the violence caused by different armed actors fighting over territorial control. Therefore, I echo the Secretary-General’s message urging these actors to demonstrate their will for peace and to respond positively to the call for a ceasefire proposed by President Petro. This would increase the chances of ending the violence through dialogue, and would open an opportunity for these communities to build a life in peace and dignity.


Mr. President,

In addition to dialogue efforts, peacebuilding requires materializing pending commitments in the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement. In this regard, it is positive that Congress has discussed, in these first weeks, key reforms with enormous potential, such as the bill for the creation of the Agrarian Jurisdiction and the proposed political reform. Similarly, Congress moved forward this week in the discussion of the bill that establishes a legal framework for the “total peace” policy and ratified the Escazú Agreement, a fundamental step, among others, for the protection of environmental leaders.

Additionally, Congress is moving forward in discussing the national budget for 2023, on which the Government has proposed greater resources for the Comprehensive Rural Reform and the Programme for the Substitution of Illicit Crops, fundamental issues for the implementation of the Agreement. I trust that Congress will approve the necessary resources for entities with implementation responsibilities.

Likewise, I would like to highlight the importance of the recent agreement between the Government and the Cattle Ranchers Association for the purchase of land to be distributed among peasants through the mechanisms established in the Peace Agreement. The implementation of this agreement will give an unprecedented boost to the rural reform, addressing one of the structural causes of the conflict.


Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

Bringing the promises of the Agreement to fruition requires continuous and constructive dialogue between the parties and with civil society –including women’s and ethnic organizations– within the framework of the institutions created by the Final Agreement. Importantly, the Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Agreement and the National Commission on Security Guarantees met recently for the first time during the new administration, both chaired by President Petro. I truly believe that the full use of these mechanisms will be key to help resolve the many urgent challenges facing peace implementation.

It is important, furthermore, that the Government appoint a new director of the Agency for Reintegration and Normalization (ARN) and its representatives to the National Reintegration Council, so that this important forum can fully resume its work in supporting more than 13,000 excombatants on matters ranging from gender and ethnic affairs to land and housing. Undoubtedly, this would contribute to giving certainty to former combatants and continuity to their dialogue with the Government so as to consolidate the process, starting with pending discussions on how to guarantee the sustainability of reintegration.


Mr. President,

Recent developments within the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition illustrate the centrality of victims to peace and reconciliation. The report of the Truth Commission, whose recommendations the new administration committed to implement, was inspired by the voice of thousands of victims.

The Unit for the Search of Persons Deemed as Missing has responded to the calls of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and has reached important agreements with them to strengthen search efforts in their territories.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace continues advancing towards the issuance of its first restorative sentences. Important steps in this direction include the holding of public hearings for the acknowledgement of truth and responsibility, as well as discussions involving perpetrators and victims regarding the proposals for tasks, works and activities with reparative and restorative content.

The SJP has also opened of new cases to address crimes committed by all parties, as well as their impact on ethnic peoples and territories, and announced an upcoming case on crimes related to gender-based and sexual violence, as called for by civil society and women’s organizations.


Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

In recent visits to various regions of the country, community representatives expressed to me their concerns about the constant threat posed by the presence of illegal armed actors, as well as their frustration over unmet expectations regarding the progressive arrival of basic services and development opportunities from the State.

I therefore welcome the Government’s willingness to adopt a new approach based on human security aimed precisely at strengthening the integrated presence of the State and the confidence of the citizenry in civilian institutions and the security forces, as well as on progressively deactivating the causes that give rise violence.

I am confident that, owing to measures taken by the Government in this regard –among others, the Emergency Plan for the protection of social leaders, human rights defenders and former combatants– communities in the regions most affected by conflict will see improvements in terms of security and quality of life.


Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council,

The decision announced last week by the Government of Colombia and the ELN to resume peace talks, based on what was previously agreed, is encouraging. With the will of the parties and the support of Colombian society and the international community, it will be possible to put an end to a conflict that has lasted decades and whose resolution is fundamental to widen the reach of peace in the country. I certainly trust that Colombia can demonstrate to the world, once again, that there is no better alternative to end conflicts than the path of dialogue.

The support of the Security Council has been decisive to reach important achievements and to overcome countless obstacles. In view of this new environment of renewed opportunities for peace, this firm and unanimous commitment to Colombia will remain of vital importance.


Thank you very much.


Download the Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2022/715

Download the Infographic Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2022/715