Statement by Ambassador Flynn at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Colombia
Statement13 July 2021
Thank you Mr. President.
Thank you SRSG once again for a very comprehensive briefing, and thank you to you, Ms. Herrera, for your important words. I also want to warmly welcome Vice President Ramírez to the Council chamber, and congratulate you on your appointment as Foreign Minister. Your presence is a clear indication of the importance your government places on engagement with this Council.
It is important to acknowledge, and indeed celebrate, the very real progress which has been made in Colombia. Nonetheless, as we have heard, the country currently faces multiple and interwoven challenges.
The months since our last meeting have seen a truly transformative period for peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Through the vital work of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, we have seen genuine engagement by former members of the FARC with victims and survivors of the conflict– apologies given and forgiveness sought.
We must also acknowledge and welcome the information provided by the indicted former FARC members to the Special Unit for the Search for Persons deemed missing, while calling for further information to be provided by all. We hope this process will bring closure and peace to hundreds of families in Colombia.
We also reflect on the historical acknowledgment to the Truth Commission of government responsibility for the extra judicial killings known as ‘false positives’, which took the lives of thousands of Colombian civilians. We hope that this can continue in the remaining period of the Commission’s work.
The recent indictments of ex-military leaders in Case 3 by the SJP may be the beginning of another watershed moment, as the SRSG outlined. We join the people of Colombia in hoping the response by any persons found guilty will focus on victims and be based on acknowledgment, apology and justice.
We note with deep concern the threats faced by persons engaging with the transitional justice system.
Additionally the risks of violence against members of political parties, ahead of an electoral period, are of concern and need to be addressed.
We also condemn, in the strongest terms, the recent car bomb in Cúcuta as well as the cowardly attack on President Duque’s helicopter.
Ireland deeply regrets the recent killings of attorney, Ms Esperanza Navas and social leader, Ms Derly Pastrana Yara. Their senseless deaths are emblematic of too many human rights defenders, social leaders, ex-combatants, children, and indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders lost in Colombia. We encourage the government to redouble its efforts to protect all defenders of human rights, activists, and - acknowledging the particular threats they face - women in social leadership and children at risk of recruitment, and Ms.Herrera spoke eloquently of the particular threats faced by women and girls. Perpetrators must also be brought to justice - the people of Colombia deserve an end to impunity.
The recent social unrest and widespread protest have demonstrated the significant structural challenges still facing society. Now more than ever genuine and inclusive dialogue is vital.
Years of peace have created a path for democratic expression. We support the right to peaceful political protest for all citizens in Colombia. We call for the perpetrators of all violence associated with the protests to be brought to justice.
We note the leadership and engagement of Colombian youth, as highlighted also by Ms.Herrera. Growing alongside the peace accord, they are a generation, heavily invested in Colombia’s future. Every opportunity should be seized to involve youth in decision-making and we welcome the recent commitment by President Duque to facilitate the first elections to municipal youth councils this autumn.
The full and complete implementation of the peace agreement also relies on dialogue. We welcome the engagement of the parties with the CSIVI and encourage continued constructive dialogue at the local, municipal and national level, particularly on gender and ethnic provisions.
Dialogue offers a path to mutually agreed solutions to shared problems. Peacebuilding requires active engagement of all members of society, engagement built on trust, trust which can only come from dialogue in good faith.
Thank you, Mr. President.