Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on Colombia
We thank Head of UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu for presenting the report on the situation in the country. We also welcome Vice President and Foreign Minister of Colombia Marta Lucía Ramírez.
Unfortunately, the current report again states that the situation in Colombia escalates against the backdrop of deteriorating security and a lack of progress in upholding key obligations under the Final Peace Agreement (FPA).
From this perspective, large scale protests that engulfed the country turned out rather illustrative. Apart from oppositional forces, an unprecedentedly large share of young people, indigenous population, and organizations advocating women’s rights took part in the protests. The report says that the reason for the protests was the security policy and approaches to reintegration of those engaged in the peace process, in the area of education, agriculture, etc. – in other words in all areas that are inextricably linked to a comprehensive implementation of the FPA.
We are concerned that 54 civilians and 2 law enforcement officers fell victim to the confrontation between the police and the protesters. We call on the authorities and law enforcement of Colombia to act in a more professional manner and preclude disproportionate use of force.
We support the five tracks that recent UNSG reports highlight as priorities for the Colombian Government:
- safety of the population;
- reintegration of peace process participants;
- state presence in remote areas;
- internal Colombian dialogue;
- lasting reconciliation.
Unfortunately, the report does not register serious progress on either track. In the meantime, election campaign for the pending 2022 vote is about to start, which makes us doubt that the situation may improve soon. By all means, safety of civilian population remains a grave problem. Struggle for areas of influence continued throughout the three months of the reporting period, which made further 7.500 people become IDPs, killed 15 peace process participants and 49 rights advocates.
Apart from that, the situation in border areas adjacent to Venezuela has clearly deteriorated in recent months. Against this backdrop, the short-sighted policy that rejects contacts with Caracas (even on such crucial aspects as border control) only exacerbates the existing security problems.
Reported data about stalling agricultural reform, land allocation and crop substitution programs instills little optimism. Local communes claim that they receive only 3.5 % of the total land allocated for agriculture. No more than 7 % of families who faithfully complied with their obligations to eradicate drug crops received compensation envisaged by the FPA.
While the total area under illicit crops is reducing, cocaine production in Colombia is but growing year to year. Assessments by specialized UN agencies confirm this. And, as we are all aware, growth of drug production always triggers an increase in violence and corruption.
Now what regards the transitional justice. We regret that while former leaders of FARC testify in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, we receive no reports about state representatives doing the same. This cannot but raise questions as to whether balance is maintained when establishing the truth and bringing justice, especially given that it is all about responsibility for murders of civilians and extrajudicial killings.
We repeatedly stressed that full-fledged peace is not possible unless all sides are engaged and all opinions duly taken on board. In this context, we are encouraged by reported (first after a long while) contacts between the Colombian Government, the UN Mission, and representatives of the National Liberation Army (ELN). We hope that Colombian sides will be able to get back to comprehensive reconciliation talks.
Soon Colombians and the whole world will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of signing the historic Final Peace Agreement. This document not only embodied Colombians’ striving for reconciliation and assuming national responsibility for the fate of their country, but also ensured support of the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, and guarantor states for Colombian peace process.
International support for the FPA is a vote of confidence for Colombians that they received in return for scrupulous commitment to the FPA provisions. We wish peace to all Colombians. But let’s be mindful that peace is not a voluntary declaration of just one side, but a painstaking labor, an unstopping process based on continuing dialogue that should account for all opinions.
We commend the role of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia and personal efforts of SRSG Massieu in promoting the peacebuilding in that country. We expect that Secretary-General’s reports, as well as the obligations under the FPA will keep receiving priority attention.
Russia in its capacity as a member of Security Council’s P5 is ready to further support the Colombian peace process to help make it resilient and irreversible.