Statement by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu
Bogotá, 27 April 2020. On 23 March, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called for a global ceasefire and to put the armed conflict on lockdown to focus attention on the Covid-19 pandemic. In Colombia, the National Liberation Army (ELN) responded to that call and declared a unilateral active ceasefire for one month starting 1 April.
A few days before the end of the ELN's declared ceasefire, various voices, including the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), indicate that there has been significant compliance with it. They also indicate that no offensive military operations by the security forces against the ELN have been recorded during this period. This has resulted in a reduction in the levels of violence, and thus a relief in the conditions of many populations affected by the armed conflict, a situation which I welcome.
However, it has also been evident that in some regions of the country, confrontations continue to take place, murders of leaders and former combatants, and other impacts on communities by different actors. I deeply regret and condemn these incidents.
At a time when it is clear, for Colombia and the world, that the road to overcoming the enormous challenge represented by Covid-19 is still long and complex, it is essential to maintain and consolidate conditions that allow attention to the most vulnerable communities. I, therefore, encourage the ELN to extend its ceasefire. I also call once again on all groups that generate violence to suspend their actions to ensure that the required assistance, including humanitarian assistance, reaches those who need it most.
The protection of life should guide our actions and be our common purpose.