Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
January 20, 2022
Thank you, Madam President. Special Representative Ruiz Massieu, thank you for your briefing, and for the ongoing efforts of the Verification Mission in supporting peace in Colombia. We welcome Presidential Advisor for Stabilization and Consolidation Archila to the Council. And thank you, Ms. Giraldo, for your intervention.
Madam President, Colombia has made demonstrable progress in its efforts to implement the Peace Accord, and we have seen important steps taken during the past year. Sixteen seats for victims of the conflict have been established in Colombia’s House of Representatives. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace issued indictments against FARC and Colombian military officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The JEP has also received information and acknowledgments by members of the FARC and military that they engaged in atrocities and abuses.
Five years into the accord, over 13,000 former FARC combatants remain committed to peace. Their commitment has been complemented by the government’s provision of economic and social benefits, as the majority of these ex-combatants are now able to access government and financial services: 99 percent are enrolled in Colombia’s health care system, 95 percent have bank accounts, and over 30 percent have enrolled in educational programs or vocational training.
We also note that the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court closed its preliminary examination into Colombia. As the ICC’s preliminary examination had been open since 2004, these actions by the Prosecutor demonstrate increased confidence in Colombia’s transitional justice institutions.
On November 30, the United States announced the lifting of its terrorist designation of the FARC. However, we remain vigilant against those who threaten Colombia’s peace and refuse to lay down their arms. Accordingly, the United States has designated Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP, comprised heavily of FARC dissidents who have abandoned or rejected the peace process, as terrorist organizations.
While we laud the progress Colombia has made to date, we must also acknowledge areas for improvement. Gender provisions continue to be implemented and financed at a slower rate than other parts of the peace agreement. Ethnic communities face a deteriorating security situation, with indigenous communities and Afro-Colombians being disproportionately victimized by the violence. More broadly, progress on the implementation of rural economic plans and rural security has been slow.
While we understand that the full implementation of rural economic plans will take years and significant and sustained investment, inadequate security and judicial protections have threatened land reform, voluntary coca substitution, and landmine clearing. These efforts are vital to the long-term success of the Peace Accord. We encourage the full utilization of the various fora created to support Accord implementation, including the Commission for Monitoring and Verification, as well as gender and ethnic forums.
By working together, the government and people of Colombia can ensure the protection and promotion of human rights for Colombia’s most vulnerable groups, address the ongoing urgent need for rural development, and make continued progress in ensuring justice and representation for the victims of the conflict. It is vital that Colombia succeed in these efforts, and we know that with renewed effort, such success is possible.
I thank you.