New administration in Colombia provides ‘tremendous opportunity’ to further peace
The election of President @petrogustavo and Vice-President @FranciaMarquezM through mostly peaceful and participatory elections is a testimony of the significant contribution of the Final Peace Agreement to widening and deepening Colombian democracy. @CGRuizMassieu @MisionONUCol pic.twitter.com/55VqpPoWdI
— Misión de la ONU en Colombia (@MisionONUCol) July 14, 2022
Mr. Massieu has met with both officials, who will be sworn in on 7 August.
Reasons for optimism
The President-elect has strongly reaffirmed that peace will be a cornerstone of his government, he said, while Ms. Márquez has reiterated that peace, with a territorial and ethnic approach, will feature prominently in its agenda.
“Indeed, the incoming administration has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to accelerate the implementation of the Peace Agreement,” Mr. Massieu told ambassadors.
“There are good, very good, reasons for optimism, and I believe the United Nations and the international community at large should do all they can to lend their support.”
Reflecting Colombia’s diversity
Mr. Massieu said electoral outcomes are increasingly reflecting the diversity of Colombian society.
Women will comprise nearly 30 per cent of the new “unprecedented” Congress, which will be installed next week. It will also include 16 representatives of victims from conflict-affected regions.
The UN Mission chief expressed hope that the new Congress will make “considerable progress” towards the passage of more than 30 peace-related laws, including comprehensive rural reform and guarantees for political participation.
Obstacles to peace
Though encouraged by these developments, he also highlighted serious obstacles to the consolidation of peace, namely persistent violence against communities, leaders and former combatants with the FARC-EP militia group.
The UN Mission has registered the killing of 331 former combatants since the signing of the peace deal. Four were killed in the past two weeks alone, including Ronald Rojas, also known as Ramiro Durán, a prominent leader of ex-combatants who had advocated for reintegration and broader implementation of the agreement.
“Their security must be guaranteed,” said Mr. Massieu. “A priority for any Peace Agreement must be to safeguard the lives of those who laid down their arms in good faith with the assurance that they would be protected.”
Additionally, “illegal armed actors” continue to target local leaders in conflict-affected areas marked by poverty, illicit economies and limited State presence. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are among those most affected by the violence and insecurity.