In advance of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos’ state visit to the UK in December 2016, ABColombia and other signatories sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Baroness Anelay, urging for the UK government to continue support to the Colombian Government’s negotiation efforts. ABColombia urged for the commitment of providing financial support during the implementation of the agreement to be upheld, as well as ensuring the Accord’s gender provisions, provisions on land reform, and guarantees of truth, justice, and reparation are met.
Santos’ visit in November 2016 was the first State Visit from Colombia to the UK. ABColombia Programme and Advocacy Manager, Louise Winstanley was nominated to speak to President Santos during a banquet at Guildhall hosted by the Lord Mayor of London on 2 November. Baroness Anelay wrote to Louise Winstanley after President Santos’ state visit:
The state visit, which took place from 1-3 November was an important and historic event for both the UK and Colombia. I am glad to hear that Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials nominated you to meet President Santos at the Guildhall Banquet. The UK and Colombia work closely together to strengthen human rights. Our support focuses on improving access to justice, protecting human rights defenders, and preventing sexual violence in conflict.
In addition to that, the FCO’s Colombia Desk Officer, who was copied into the correspondence with Baroness Anelay, also sent a reply to ABColombia on 6 December 2016. This letter reaffirms the political and financial commitments being made to Colombia by the UK government, as well as highlighting important new commitments to support post-conflict strategies through the Conflict, Security, and Stability Fund. These include the creation of economic opportunities and sustainable development projects in Colombia’s rural areas. Furthermore, alongside the British Government’s stated goal of reducing and preventing sexual violence in Colombia, the response points to the Colombian Government’s own recognition of combating sexual violence as a priority issue.
The full correspondence can be downloaded below: