Continued violence in Colombia strains peace process

Continued violence in Colombia strains peace process

Tremendous challenges remain on the road to enduring peace in Colombia, where notwithstanding ongoing attacks and stigmatization, the majority of former FARC-EP fighters who laid down their weapons under a 2016 peace agreement with the Government, remain engaged in the reintegration process, the head of the UN mission in the South American country says.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the work of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, told the Security Council that former combatants are working alongside their families and local communities to withstand the health and economic effects of the COVIDF-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, some of the areas that suffered immensely during the conflict continue to be besieged by violence from other actors who continue attacking social leaders, human rights defenders, former combatants and entire communities”, he told Council members on Wednesday, meeting via video-teleconference.

Timely responses to early warning from the national ombudsman’s office could be decisive as well in reducing violence, together with a global ceasefire – as called for by the Secretary-General – that would enable Colombia to focus all efforts on coronavirus relief, he said.

Turning to other challenges, he said that land in rural Colombia remains a pressing issue for the reintegration progress, as the Government aims to purchase more plots in former territorial areas by the end of the year.

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