Secretary-General acknowledges progress in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and highlights the emphasis on dialogue to reduce violence and advance peacebuilding

6 Jul 2023

Secretary-General acknowledges progress in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and highlights the emphasis on dialogue to reduce violence and advance peacebuilding



Bogotá, July 6, 2023. - In his most recent report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, which covers the period from 27 March to 26 June 2023, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, recognizes progress in the implementation of central aspects of the Final Peace Agreement and encourages the Government of Colombia to continue to persevere, both in its implementation and in the use of dialogue to address violence and deepen the scope of peace.

The Secretary-General welcomes progress on several points of the Agreement, as well as the approval of key policies and legislation, and the allocation of resources to accelerate implementation, while also highlighting the agreements reached on a cease-fire and the participation of society in the Dialogue Table between the Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

The report highlights that peace in general and the Final Agreement, in particular, stand out as significant priorities in the National Development Plan, which was crafted with the broad participation of Colombian society. The Plan includes nearly 50 references related to the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The Report also mentions legislative advances related to the implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Reform, such as the approval of the Agrarian Jurisdiction and the recognition of the peasantry as a subject of rights in the Constitution. It also highlights the approval of measures to promote the participation of women in politics and in public office.

Among the advances mentioned in the implementation of the Agreement are the mechanisms to accelerate the purchase of land for Comprehensive Rural Reform, the multipurpose cadaster, and the implementation of the Development Programmes with a Territorial Focus (PDET). Also, the concrete results achieved in relation to the purchase and formalization of land, particularly that carried out under the agreement between the Government and Fedegán.

“I trust that land made available so far for rural reform purposes will soon be handed over to its intended beneficiaries, including victims and rural women, along with the support necessary to ensure long-term success, such as access to credit and technical assistance”, says the Secretary-General.

Concerning the Ethnic Chapter, he welcomes the Government's work to prioritize the needs of indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples on issues such as the implementation of the PDETs, the strengthening of participation, collective reparations, land restitution and the return of ethnic peoples to their territories. The Secretary-General urges the Government to redouble its efforts to address historical exclusion and inequality. He points out that violence continues to affect indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

The Report highlights the progress of transitional justice in several macro cases of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) and mentions advances in the State’s preparedness to provide the conditions for implementing restorative sentences.

The report also highlights the importance of continued cooperation between the SJP and other Government and state entities, as well as the parties' commitment to comply with their obligations, and notes that the first restorative sentences will undoubtedly contribute to providing justice, truth and guarantees of non-repetition to the victims.

In addition, the Secretary-General strongly condemn threats against the magistrates of the SJP, as well as threats and acts of violence against victims and defendants within its jurisdiction.

Regarding the reintegration process, he highlights the sustainability strategy approved by the National Reintegration Council (NRC) for collective productive projects and the fact that the Government has streamlined procedures and resources for access to and purchase of land for former combatants, especially for productive projects. Today, half of the 24 former TATRs are now located on land acquired by the Government.

The report recognizes that greater attention is being paid to include ex-combatants inside and outside the former TATRs. To date, 10,564 total former combatants (2,575 women) are pursuing their individual and collective reintegration processes outside former TATRs, in 605 municipalities and 75 collective reintegration areas. Moreover, 77 per cent of accredited former combatants participate in productive projects, 62 per cent of which are individual projects. The percentage of women former combatants participating in productive projects stands at 86 per cent.

In the context of political reintegration, the Comunes party is reviewing potential candidates ahead of the department and municipal elections either under the party's banner or joining other parties and coalitions. Some 500 former combatants are expected to run countrywide.

There have been attacks and threats against former combatants seeking to participate in the elections, which calls for greater institutional efforts to guarantee their fair and secure political participation, a key element of their transition to civilian life. Specific efforts to protect and promote women former combatants' political participation are essential. In relation to the October elections, the Secretary-General urges authorities “to take every measure necessary to preserve one of the most tangible dividends of the Final Agreement, namely the holding of increasingly peaceful and participatory elections”.

During the reporting period, twelve ex-combatants (all men) were killed in eight departments. Since the signing of the Final Agreement, the Mission has verified a total of 375 killings of former combatants (11 women, 54 Afro-Colombians and 35 Indigenous persons), 129 attempted homicides (10 women), and 32 cases of former combatants deemed missing (all men).

The Report mentions that, despite the efforts made to advance reintegration, violence continues to jeopardize the process and highlights that, in response to complaints from ex-combatants about threats in the former TATR of Mesetas, Meta, last March, the Government responded quickly to address their situation.

The Secretary-General also highlights the importance of expanded efforts to extend the presence of the State in a way that protects vulnerable communities, especially in rural areas, and trusts that the recently adopted security and defense policy will lead to significant and sustained improvements in the protection of communities affected by the conflict. 

The Report draws attention to the fact that the announced appointment of a dedicated senior official within the Presidency to lead implementation of Agreement has yet to occur, and states that this appointment would undoubtedly help to accelerate progress.

Persistent violence by illegal armed groups and criminal organizations continues to disrupt the lives of civilians and undermine peacebuilding in several regions. Between January and May 2023, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs registered 19,976 forcibly displaced persons and 18,789 confined persons in 14 departments and 38 municipalities, mainly in Arauca, Bolivar, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Valle del Cauca. Indigenous and Afro-Colombians continue to be disproportionately affected. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded 22 massacres (seven verified, 12 in the process of verification and three inconclusive). The verified cases involved a total of 24 victims (four women and five children).

For the Secretary-General, this persistent violence underscores the importance of peace initiatives: “I commend once again in this context the Government’s determination to find solutions to respond to these ever-evolving conflict dynamics, especially its emphasis on dialogue. Especially noteworthy are the recent results reached at the negotiation table between the Government and ELN. I trust that the parties will continue to show determination and good faith in the implementation of the agreements reached in Cuba and that the next cycles will lead to further agreements for the benefit of all Colombians”.

The Secretary-General's report will be presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, to the United Nations Security Council on 12 July 2023.



Download the Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2023/477 

Download the Infographic Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2023/477