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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Transitional Justice in Colombia

Dear colleagues,


The path from conflict to peace is a challenging one. Only after committing to sacrifice and compromise to secure an agreement, does the really difficult work of building a shared, lasting, and sustainable peace begin.


We know the path to peace in Colombia embodies this truth. Five years on from its signature, the truly unique and innovative peace accord between the government of Colombia and the former FARC serves as powerful, global example for peace processes.


A powerful example of commitment to a brighter future, which placed victims and survivors of the brutal and corrosive conflict at the centre.


The recent release of the Truth Commission’s final report is a key step on Colombia’s path to peace, and we believe represents a strong and compelling platform upon which now to build this reconciliation and healing that is so much needed.


Ireland applauds the efforts of all those who have worked together and engaged with the Colombian transitional justice system to reconcile the deep, deep injustices of the conflict. The tireless commitment by social leaders, human rights defenders, former combatants and those tasked with administering the truth and reconciliation system - such as Padre de Roux here on the platform and his fellow Commissioners – can never be underestimated. They have made an invaluable contribution to Colombia’s future, and invested enormously the future of Colombia and that of its future generations.


But, we also recognise that their commitment has often come at a heavy price. Ireland condemns the targeting killing and intimidation of peace accord signatories and other participants in the transitional justice system. As Ms Mosquera’s testimony has so powerfully illustrated, engaging in transitional justice has been accompanied by devastating and life altering risk.


Colombian social leaders, human rights defenders, former combatants and other participants in the transitional justice process deserve to receive the dividend of the peace that their hard won efforts have secured and protected.


Their unique security concerns and needs must be recognised; we all have a responsibility in that. They must be supported, protected and facilitated to engage with accountability mechanisms, in accordance with rule of law. Ms Acosta outlined clearly today how that can be done.


Ireland proudly supports the Colombian Peace Accord, and gives its support to the transitional justice system. This is very much is guided by our own peace process.


The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998, brought to an end 30 years of violence and conflict on the island of Ireland. We keenly understand, first hand, the constant challenge of protecting a hard won peace and recommitting - every day - to truth and reconciliation. We in Ireland are still working to protect that today.


We also know from our lived experience, that transitional justice and peace agreement implementation has the absolute best chance of success when the commitment and efforts of its participants is met by the support of the international community. The process of peace in Northern Ireland has endured, in large part due to the partnership and support of the international community, and in particular, the European Union.


As Special Envoy Gilmore exemplifies, the continued support of the European Union has bolstered the transitional justice system in Colombia thus far. The Security Council, with its mandate to accompany the implementation of the peace accord through the Verification Mission and its role to support transitional justice and peace building, has played, and really should continue to play, a unique role in supporting the road ahead to truth, reconciliation and peace in Colombia.


Certainly, Ireland recommits itself to accompanying the people of Colombia on the path which remains to truth, reconciliation and a peaceful Colombia for all.


We call on member states - those inside and outside of this chamber - to also commit their support at this critical moment for transitional justice in Colombia, and to the continued implementation of the peace accord.



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