Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia
Bogotá, 29 March 2019. The most recent quarterly report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council on the Verification Mission in Colombia covers the period from 27 December 2018 to 26 March 2019.
In his report, the Secretary-General emphasizes that “Colombia remains a source of inspiration for those around the world who remain locked in cycles of armed conflict. It has broken with five decades of confrontation, demonstrating the resilience of its society and institutions. It is vital that Colombians keep faith in a peace process that has yielded great benefits but still has promises left to fulfil”.
The Report acknowledges the commitment of President Iván Duque Márquez and his Government to the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement, in particular the reintegration process and the reactivation of institutional mechanisms that seek to guarantee security in the territories.
Regarding the social, economic and political reintegration of ex-combatants, the Report identifies progress and challenges during the period covered by the report. It notes that, as at 27 February 2019, the National Reintegration Council had approved 22 collective projects, up from 20 reported in December, while the Agency for Reintegration and Normalization had approved 162 individual projects benefiting 1,592 former FARC-EP members. In addition, funds have been disbursed for 9 collective projects and 133 individual projects.
In addition, the Secretary-General acknowledges that "despite the challenges in adequately reflecting a gender dimension in economic and social reintegration, women continue to play a critical leadership role in activities already under way in territorial areas for training and reintegration”.
The Secretary-General welcomes the analysis being undertaken by the Government of Colombia on the "status and conditions of each territorial area for training and reintegration and its progress on proposals to ensure continuity where possible or to propose alternative solutions where necessary. At the same time, he reiterates that, once the consultations with the former combatants are concluded, "decisions are taken and effectively communicated to those living in the 24 territorial areas for training and reintegration in order to reduce the uncertainty of those living and working there".
The Report also welcomes the Colombian Government's decision to extend the provision of food and health until 15 August 2019, as well as its stated intention to extend the monthly allowance beyond that date under certain conditions.
"It is of utmost importance that former combatants maintain confidence in the peace process. One of the most visible means to do that is for the National Reintegration Council to accelerate the rate of approval of income-generating and related initiatives and ensure that funds for previously approved projects are disbursed without further delay", notes the Secretary-General, who also adds that he expects the National Development Plan to provide adequate resources to implement the reintegration programme. The report also points out that forward momentum is critical to countering the sense of economic insecurity and waning confidence among former FARC-EP members, which, in conjunction with security threats and legal uncertainty, could have a negative impact on the reintegration process.
The Secretary-General also welcomes the approval of the 16 Development Plans with a Territorial Focus, which were conceived as a way to transform former conflict regions, where communities demand a tangible State presence in the form of security, basic services, land and viable alternatives to illegal economies. According to the "Peace with Legality" plan, as programmes begin to be implemented, it will be essential that multiple ministries act in a timely manner coordinated by the Presidential Counsellor for Stabilization," state his report.
In relation to security guarantees, the Report highlights the different initiatives to address territorial and community insecurity, as well as prevention and protection measures promoted by the national authorities and other State entities. In this regard, the Secretary-General underlines that a "continuing challenge is to ensure that the Government’s broader policy frameworks, particularly in areas of former FARC-EP presence and where reintegration efforts are ongoing, are converted into a concrete plan of action on territorial, rural and urban security to tackle the various factors affecting communities and former combatants”.
In line with the foregoing, the Secretary-General highlights the reactivation by President Duque of the National Commission on Security Guarantees on 30 January and the leadership of the High Commissioner for Peace, as well as the decision to undertake subsequent meetings at the territorial level.
In his report, the Secretary-General reiterates his concern, also expressed by the United Nations Security Council, about the situation of social leaders and human rights defenders. "I remain deeply concerned about the continuing attacks against social leaders and human rights defenders and call for swift action to prevent further killings and to bring perpetrators to justice. In this regard, the Secretary-General emphasizes that more concerted and better-resourced efforts are needed between public institutions and regional and local authorities, in cooperation with civil society.
In addition, the Secretary-General regrets that, during the reporting period, 12 former FARC-EP members were killed, noting that the Mission has verified the killing of 99 former FARC-EP members since the signing of the Peace Agreement.
The Secretary-General also notes that during the reporting period, contentious debates reopened on sensitive issues of peace, justice and reconciliation. The Report notes that "the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a central pillar of the Peace Agreement, has been the focus of polarized discussions. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace is the main guarantor of the rights of victims to truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition and also embodies the expression of legal guarantees extended to those who, in good faith, have laid down their arms, with the verification of the United Nations
The Secretary-General reiterates his call for "all entities to take swift action to ensure that the statutory law is put in place as soon as possible in accordance with the provisions of the Peace Agreement". In this regard, the Secretary-General echoes the calls of the United Nations Security Council for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to have at its disposal all the political and practical tools required for its effective functioning under conditions of independence and autonomy.
The Secretary-General notes that the peace process is at a critical juncture and invites all actors to work with a sense of common purpose and national consensus.
The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to the peacebuilding process in Colombia, through the support of the Verification Mission and the entire United Nations system in the country.
The Secretary-General's Report will be presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Colombia, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, to the United Nations Security Council in New York on 10 April.