Saturday, May 18, 2024
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UK concerned by violence against human rights defenders, women and social leaders in Colombia

By James Kariuki

ENGLAND / COLOMBIA – The following is a statement by ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Colombia:

“As we mark the seventh anniversary of the 2016 Peace Agreement, the United Kingdom continues its unwavering support to the Colombian people along their path to peace.

We welcome the government’s commitment to accelerate implementation of the ethnic chapter, including initiatives on access to land and reintegration.

We urge further steps to ensure 60 percent of the ethnic chapter is implemented by 2026 as agreed in the recent Government pact. Full implementation of the gender and ethnic provisions of the Peace Agreement is needed to address the drivers of inequality and to protect vulnerable groups including indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities most affected by the conflict.

We remain strongly concerned by violence against peace signatories, human rights defenders, communities, women and social leaders – this includes three reported killings of peace signatories and human rights defenders already in 2024. We strongly encourage the government to step up efforts to protect these local leaders and participants in the peace process. Security guarantees are an essential component of the Peace Agreement underpinning progress in all other chapters, including reintegration.

The recently approved Comprehensive Reintegration Programme is a welcome step. We also reiterate our call for the appointment of a dedicated office within the Presidency to coordinate and advance implementation of the agreement.

We welcome the government’s commitment to expanding peace through dialogue and we note the intention to extend the ceasefire with the ELN. The ELN’s commitment to abide by international humanitarian law, including refraining from kidnapping, must be reflected in a change of practice on the ground.

“Finally, the United Kingdom remains committed to supporting broad and lasting sustainable peace in Colombia. We look forward to a visit by the Council next month to see first-hand the progress made to date and learn how we can contribute to supporting Colombia on this journey.”

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