Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 13, 2023
Thank you. Let me start by underscoring our appreciate for the vital role that the UN Verification Mission continues to play in supporting peace in Colombia. Let me also welcome Foreign Minister Leyva once again to the Council chamber.
The United States remains committed to supporting Colombia as it seeks to deepen implementation of the 2016 Peace Accord.
The expansion of the UN Verification Mission mandate to include the Ethnic Chapter helped to achieve this goal. As the first International Accompanier to the Ethnic Chapter of the 2016 Peace Accord, the United States seeks to help Colombia promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by addressing inequality and political and socioeconomic exclusion, issues that have disproportionately affected indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
The presentation of President Petro’s National Development Plan to Colombia’s Congress is an important step as Colombia’s leaders consider the best methods to tackle inequality.
We are encouraged that the Verification Mission has already taken important steps in addressing the Ethnic Chapter and rural reform by engaging with the Ministry of Agriculture and civil society organizations.
We take note of the Colombian government’s efforts to expand its Total Peace Plan through negotiations with the ELN, dissident groups of the former FARC-EP, and other armed groups that did not sign the Peace Accord in 2016.
Efforts to expand peace in Colombia are laudable, but also require time and a demonstrated commitment by terrorist and illegal armed groups to abide by any future negotiated terms. Further, these efforts should also recognize the importance of combating illicit drug production and avoiding impunity for acts committed by terrorist and illegal armed groups.
We are encouraged that the Verification Mission reported a reduction in killings in many rural regions of Colombia, but note that high levels of conflict-related violence continue. Violence against Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, environmental and human rights defenders, labor leaders, and women remain a concern, with the Verification Mission reporting that in some areas of the country, violence against women increased compared to a year ago.
The United States remains supportive of efforts to help Colombia achieve a real and lasting peace. We hope that these efforts lead to a demonstrable reduction in violence from illegal armed groups.