What's In Blue

Posted Wed 18 Apr 2018

Colombia: Briefing and Consultations

Tomorrow (19 April), the Security Council is expected to receive a briefing on the situation in Colombia by Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault. The Foreign Minister of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, is expected to participate in the meeting. A press statement may be negotiated following the meeting.

Arnault is expected to brief Council members on the 2 April report of the Secretary-General mission (S/2018/279). He is expected to update Council members on the mission’s mandate to verify the political, economic and social reintegration of the former members of the FARC-EP, as well as security guarantees for them and the communities most affected by the conflict.

The security situation in Colombia will most likely feature prominently in the discussion. Council members may be particularly interested in discussing the security of former FARC-EP members and their families, particularly outside of the perimeter of the 26 Territorial Areas for Training and Reintegration. Council members may also raise concerns at the persistent violence against human rights defenders and other community leaders. In addition, they may be interested in getting an update on the implementation of the government’s Plan Horus which provides for the redeployment of public security forces in 595 rural districts. The recent kidnapping and killing of two Ecuadorian journalists and their driver by a group of FARC-EP dissidents in the Esmeraldas province in Ecuador, near the border with Colombia, is also likely to be discussed tomorrow.

Following up on the Secretary-General’s observation in his report that “socioeconomic reintegration is lagging behind”, some Council members may ask about the measures taken to ensure the sustainability of the reinsertion process. This includes the establishment of a national reintegration plan to link reintegration to development efforts and to improve the way in which projects are designed, approved and funded by the National Reintegration Council.

The issue of political integration and legal guarantees is also expected to be discussed. After the legislative elections in March, five seats each in the Senate and the House of Representatives were allocated to representatives of the political party Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común (FARC), which was founded after the laying-down of weapons.

The Secretary-General’s report stresses how some 900 former FARC-EP members remain in prison as a result of conflict-related crimes, despite the adoption of an amnesty law in late 2016. Council members may want to discuss in consultations the impact of the recent detention of Seuxis Hernández (aka Jesús Santrich) on drug-trafficking charges following an indictment issued in the US for crimes committed after the signing of the 2016 agreement.

The recent resumption of talks in Quito, Ecuador, between the government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) is also expected to be discussed tomorrow. The failure of the parties to extend the 103-day temporary and bilateral ceasefire agreed to in September 2017 was marked by increased attacks by the ELN. Resolution 2381 had temporarily expanded the mandate of the UN Verification Mission until 9 January 2018 to include its participation in the monitoring and verification of such ceasefire, along with the Catholic Church.

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