The UN Verification Mission in Colombia Initiates its mandate
Bogota. September 26, 2017. Today marks the officially beginning of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, the second special UN political mission supporting the Colombian peace process. The Mission is mandated to verify the commitments on the reintegration of former FARC-EP members, as well as the guarantees of protection and security for communities in the areas most affected by the conflict. The Mission succeeds the previous United Nations Mission in Colombia whose mandate was the verification of the Agreement between the Government and FARC-EP on the Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Laying down of Arms (Ceasefire Agreement).
Mr. Jean Arnault, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Colombia and Head of the Verification Mission stated: "We are pleased that the laying down of weapons has been successfully concluded. It is not the end of a process but rather the opportunity to redouble efforts to bring peace to all corners of Colombia. Through our follow-up and verification activities, the United Nations will continue to support Colombia in its process of building a firm and lasting peace”
The Verification Mission was established by the UN Security Council in resolution 2366 (2017), adopted unanimously on July 10, 2017, following a joint request from the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP. According to this resolution, the purpose of the Mission is to accompany the parties and verify their commitments regarding points 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Peace Agreement on the reintegration of former FARC-EP members, and the implementation of measures of protection and security for communities in territories most affected by the conflict.
At the request of the parties, verification activities will be carried out at the national, regional and local levels. The Mission will have presence in ten (10) regional offices: Medellín, Quibdó, Popayán, Florence, Villavicencio, Valledupar, San José del Guaviare, Cúcuta, Pasto and Bogota. At the local level, the Mission will also continue its presence in the 26 Territorial Area for Training and Reincorporation. In addition, the Mission will establish seven (7) sub-offices in Montería, Puerto Rico, Arauca, Mocoa, Apartadó, Buenaventura and Barrancabermeja.
In terms of personnel, this Mission will conduct verification at regional and local levels via joint military/ police and civilian teams. The civilian personnel will lead these teams; and the (120) unarmed, non-uniformed international observers will provide special support with liaison with the police force.
Mr Arnault, stressed that the verification "will be objective and proactive, will present to the parties and Colombian society an impartial analysis of the implementation of the commitments and will be aimed at proposing solutions and generating confidence and strengthening the support of the international community to the process of peace in Colombia"
Closure of the First Mission
The Verification Mission begins its activities immediately upon the conclusion of the mandate of the first UN Mission in Colombia. Which was established in resolution 2261 (2016) of the United Nations Security Council in January 25, 2016, whose mandate was the verification of the Agreement between the Government and FARC-EP on the Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Laying down of Arms (Ceasefire Agreement
The UN Mission is deeply grateful for the continued support of the 19 countries that contributed their military and police personnel to the group of about 450 international observers: Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Russia, Sweden, Paraguay, Portugal and Uruguay. The support of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to mobilize observers from its member countries was vital to the operation of this Mission. In addition, about 200 civilians were also part of the Mission among national and international staff.
The UN Mission in Colombia also recognized the commitment and effort of both the Colombian Government and the former FARC-EP to carry out this process and thanks the parties, Colombian civil society, State institutions - in particular the Public Forces - and the international community for their support.
In a special way, the Mission thanks to the local communities where the cease-fire was carried out and which have been generous hosts of our presence. We trust that they will continue to be essential actors and direct beneficiaries of peacebuilding.