On 13 July 2021 Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, briefed ambassadors on latest developments in respect to the implementation of the Peace Accord.
This is a summary of the report that the Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia presented:
The peace process is entering “a critical juncture”
Ruiz referred to the achievements of the Transitional Justice System and the way in which it had ensured the ‘…participation of all, including the victims of conflict, …[which is] key to this progress’
Transitional Justice System is made up of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the Truth Commission and the Search Unit for the Disappeared. The initial actions of these institutions, created to guarantee justice, truth, reparation and non-repetition, and which exists due to the ‘tenacity and generosity of the victims of the conflict’, must ensure that their rights are upheld.
Special Jurisdiction for Peace.
- In April 2021, seven former high-level FARC-EP combatants officially accepted responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes of kidnappings during the conflict.
- In July 2021, 10 army officers and a civilian were indicted with war crimes and crimes against humanity related to killings and forced disappearances presented as combat casualties also known as false positives (falsos positivos).
The Search Unit for Persons Deemed as Missing
The work of the Unit for the Search for Persons Deemed as Missing has made it possible to find hundreds of bodies of forcibly disappeared persons.
According to Ruiz, “it will take time to dismantle the narratives, it will take time to dismantle structures and identities inherited from the conflict, and thus help the Colombian people, and especially those who experienced firsthand the worst of the war, to definitively close the chapter of the conflict and continue on their path to reconciliation”.
Security, Protection and Participation
- The UN envoy underscored the need for joint initiatives by the state and civil society to protect social leaders and human rights defenders in communities affected by recurring violence.
- Expressed concern regarding violence and stigmatization against former combatants and members of Comunes party. Particularly as 2022 is an election year, and ‘when they expect to engage actively in political work across the country’.
- “The persistence of violence and insecurity, highlight the urgent need for enhanced prevention and protection measures, as well as for additional and more solid steps to dismantle illegal organizations, to bring perpetrators to justice, as well to extend State institutions, public services and development opportunities as quickly as possible to conflict-affected communities”
Ruiz, identified that the agreements in the Peace Accord promote a widening of democratic spaces and guarantees for participation and the need to promote dialogue.
- ‘Despite a challenging reintegration landscape, former combatants continue to demonstrate their commitment to building a new life, participating actively in peacebuilding and development efforts alongside their communities’.
- ‘Previous reintegration experiences across the globe have proven the importance of linking this process to broader and complementary transformations. The Peace Accord links reintegration with comprehensive rural reform. The implementation of this chapter is ‘essential to the overall success of the [peace] process’.
- Access to housing, land, productive projects and adequate support for their sustainability are essential for former combatants and the peace process.
“The recent approval of the 16 seats intended to promote the participation in Congress of historically excluded populations in conflict-affected regions, is an encouraging development.”
Read the full report here