Let me thank you SRSG Massieu, for this valuable briefing as well as for the remarkable work you and your team are doing in Colombia.
We welcome the participation of father de Roux and thank him for informing the Council on the historic Final Report of the Truth Commission. It is the voice and the testimony of millions of victims and all those who endured so much suffering during all these years of conflict. Aa you rightly said, establishing the truth is the first step to ensuring justice and accountability, give hope and proceed in the path for sustained peace and reconciliation.
I thank Ms. Piamba for her testimony. Civil society information from the ground always contributes to have a meaningful and inclusive discussion in the Council.
We welcome the presence of Vice President and Foreign Minister Ramirez to this meeting.
I would like to congratulate the people of Colombia for the election of the new President. The high electoral turnout demonstrates the commitment of the Colombian people to democracy and stability and bears proof of a solid anchorage and true commitment of Colombians to democracy and stability.
We sincerely commend the outgoing Government of Colombia for their engagement in ensuring a free and fair electoral process, by creating a peaceful and conducive conditions. We are reassured that the transitional period will be conducted in a similar constructive manner.
We welcome the commitment of the President-elect to advancing the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement, to bringing the country together and initiating a national dialogue with all political forces, marginalized ethnic groups, civil society, and other stakeholders, with a strong focus on the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
It is very encouraging that for the first time in the history of Colombia a woman, representing the Afro-Colombian community, an environmentalist and human rights activist, who herself was a victim of the conflict, was elected Vice-President.
The Special Jurisdiction for Peace, created by the peace agreement to ensure accountability for the atrocities in Colombia, has made significant progress with the public hearings on acknowledgement of truth and responsibility, which is an important step towards the issuance of restorative sentences, contributing to victim’s rights for justice and reconciliation.
We welcome the long-awaited Final Report presented by the Truth Commission, after years of research and extensive dialogue, an important milestone in the “healing process” for the people of Colombia. It will shed full light on nearly six decades of conflict, atrocities and human rights violations committed during the country’s armed conflict.
The accounts in the report are heartbreaking. The civilian population has suffered unimaginable hardship and suffering. Families not knowing the fate of their loved ones. Women testifying to brutal sexual violence during their captivity, as a weapon of war, a despicable expression of power, to intimidate and spread terror.
It is our hope that the Report of the Truth Commission will serve as a basis for the long-needed reconciliation, non-repetition and peacebuilding of the country, taking into account victims’ rights and gender perspective. It is only when all facts are established that the country might be given a chance to move beyond the sufferings of the past.
Yet, many challenges and obstacles remain.
Civilians in various parts of the country continue to suffered serious abuses at the hands of National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas, FARC dissidents, and paramilitary successor groups.
Human rights defenders, journalists, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, and other community activists face pervasive death threats and violence.
The State needs to establish its authority and consolidate its presence in areas historically affected by the conflict. Criminal gangs and armed groups need to be dismantled once and for all. The government needs to take adequate steps to address all these issues and protect civilians.
We encourage the incoming Government and the people of Colombia to keep this momentum with the comprehensive implementation of the Peace Agreement and advance with the reforms on the issues that are lagging behind such as land reform, ethnic and gender provisions.
The progress achieved in Colombia is, by all accounts, strong and promising. The presidential election opens a new chapter for Colombia, which we want to see as a continuation of consolidation of peace, democracy and social justice.
Inclusive dialogue, genuine reconciliation and justice are the key words that will, in our view, define the future of Colombia.
This is what the people voted for last month and we look forward to see them implemented to the benefit of the country and its people.
I thank you.