Security Council

Colombia - Security Council, 9151st meeting

Colombia - Security Council, 9151st meeting
Production Date
Video Length
Speaker Name
Geographic Subject
Colombia - Security Council, 9151st meeting.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Says Uncontrolled International Demand for Drugs Will Not Allow for Peace, Highlights Upcoming Global Conference Tackling Problem

Colombia is experiencing a period of new expectations due to the total peace policy of newly elected President Gustavo Petro, anchored in the implementation of the Final Agreement with the former Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia‑Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP), the Special Representative for the country told the Security Council today.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative and the Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, presented the Secretary-General’s report, (document S/2022/715).  He also expressed hope that renewed progress on the Government’s peacebuilding commitments, as well as its willingness to resume talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), would enable the end of a conflict that has lasted for decades.

Further, he welcomed the Government’s efforts to foster the active participation of women.  “From Chocó to Catatumbo, from Putumayo to southern Bolivar, it is these women and their communities who confront and resist violence by armed actors fighting for territorial control,” he said, echoing the Secretary‑General’s call to such actors to respond positively to the President’s call for a ceasefire.

Turning to the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non‑Repetition, he welcomed the Government’s commitment to implementing its recommendations and took note of the response of the Unit for the Search of Persons Deemed as Missing to calls made by indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.  However, he noted that, during his recent visit to Colombia, representatives of those communities expressed concern about the ongoing threat posed by illegal armed actors and their frustration at unmet expectations of State services and opportunities.

Elizabeth Moreno, Legal Representative of the General Community Council of San Juan brought those concerns vividly brought to life.  The 4,500 families she represents and who live in a territory of over 600,000 hectares, face ethnocide, primarily through the systematic violation of their economic cultural, social and environmental rights.  She also pointed out that they have been dispossessed of more than 30,000 hectares by extraction activities and foreign megaprojects.

“We have been massacred, displaced, confined, threatened and murdered, all to make us leave our land so that it could be occupied and exploited for specific economic interests outside our will,” she continued.  Urging an end to the violence in their lands, she drew attention to Valeria Murillo, a 10-year-old girl who was killed in January during the incursion of an illegal armed group onto the territory where she lived, and Yuver Moreno, a 12-year-old boy recruited by another armed group and who later died in a bombing by the armed forces in September 2021.  Addressing armed actors, she said:  “Don't involve us in your conflict.  Please respect our decision to be neutral.”

Also briefing the Council was Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, who welcomed the Government’s commitment to reducing inequality, governing with and for women, including through its appointment of a gender parity cabinet and the creation of the Ministry of Equality to address issues related to gender, ethnic communities, youth and children.  He also welcomed the decision by the Government and ELN to resume peace dialogues, and urged the United Nations and international and regional partners to support the process and the implementation of agreements to ensure a sustained path towards peacebuilding in Colombia.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers were near-unanimous in commending the encouraging progress made by the Colombian Government, including in rural reforms and the transitional justice system.  However, some speakers expressed concern about ongoing spates of violence, including attacks on civilians, human rights defenders, ex-combatants and police forces, while others emphasized the need to implement the Ethnic Chapter of the peace accord.

To that point, the representative of the United States recalled that, last week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visited Bogotá and was the first international accompanier to the Ethnic Chapter of the peace accord which recognized that there can be no lasting peace without justice and equality.  The new Congress has 16 representatives from conflict-affected areas, elected from special transitional electoral districts.

In a similar vein, Michael Moussa Adamo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Council President for October, spoke in his national capacity and also for Kenya and Ghana, applauding the Government’s appointment of Afro-Colombian and indigenous professionals to key public positions.  Underscoring the importance of addressing their needs, he said:  “All people of African descent the world over whose ancestors left our shore in duress or in search of opportunity are our kin.  We care for the fates they have met, and we will do the utmost to encourage all States and institutions to treat them with dignity and fairness.”

For her part, Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, which remains a guarantor country in the implementation of the 2016 peace accord, noted that while the Government’s quick action to engage with ELN is commendable, “total peace” is a tall order.  “It will be complicated, and it will take time,” she said.  She also commended the Government for convening the National Commission for Security Guarantees which had the potential to address the root causes of violence.  This would in turn improve security conditions for human rights defenders and former combatants.

Meanwhile, the Russian Federation’s delegate commended the newly elected Government’s approach, and contrasted it that of the previous Government, which seemed to “boil down the peace process to an acquisition rather than a merger”, harking back to the root causes of the conflict.  Going forward, the current President has many accumulated challenges to overcome, he said, adding that the decision to prioritize the resumption of talks with ELN is heartening, as are meetings held with Cuba and Venezuela, with a view to fully ending armed hostilities and bringing about national reconciliation.

Rounding out the discussion, Álvaro Leyva Durán C., Foreign Minister for Colombia, enumerated the pledges made by President Gustavo Petro when he was elected, including bringing an end to the conflict, transitioning towards clean energy, as well as protecting the Amazon while promoting a new global approach to illicit drugs.  In that regard, in the first chapter of the Havana accords, the new Government defined agrarian reform as one of its key principles.

Outlining measures undertaken by his Government during its first 65 days, including a draft reform to achieve gender parity in the Congress and ensure that political campaigns were funded exclusively with public funds, he further underlined the need to establish a new approach towards illicit drugs, both within Colombia and internationally.  Although Colombians were sick and tired of the violence caused by the drug business, uncontrolled international demand will not allow for peace, he pointed out.  In this context, he drew attention to a global conference on drug-consuming countries to raise awareness and take effective measures to a problem that continues to destroy innocent lives, including small peasant farmers, Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples, civil society and human rights defenders.

Also speaking were representatives of Mexico, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Albania, India, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting began at 3:02 p.m. and ended at 4:53 p.m.