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Colombian President Duque Meets with Protest Leaders to Respond to Concerns, Find Solutions

May 11th, 2021


United Nations Among International Organizations Participating In and Supporting Discussions


Washington, DC — Colombian President Iván Duque and senior Government leaders met with members of the National Committee on Unemployment yesterday as part of the process for finding constructive solutions to address concerns raised in the recent protests and demonstrations. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, representing the United Nations, and Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, representing the Catholic Church, attended the meeting.


High Commissioner for Peace Miguel Ceballos, who participated in the meeting, assured that the clear and express intention of the Government is to create a space that allows all sides to reach peaceful agreements. While there are differences, common goals do exist, and the conversations will continue with the support of the United Nations and the Catholic Church.


“We know that there is a difference in terminology. Some members of the Committee speak of negotiation, and we want to go further. We want an agreement. It is not negotiating to negotiate; it is done to achieve something. This is what President Duque said this morning, and I echo it to the country: the clear, express will of the President is to create a space so as to reach agreements,” Ceballos stressed yesterday following the meeting, which took place at the Casa de Nariño.


Ceballos added that “we concur in the rejection of violence and zero tolerance for any conduct by the Public Force that goes against the Constitution and the law, but there is also a clear condemnation against any violation of the right that citizens have to their physical and personal integrity.”


“In this context,” the High Commissioner continued, “a new call is being made to the entire country to end the blockades that threaten the right to mobility, health and security. All citizens are going to continue to be protected by our Public Force, by the President and his entire government, and by a framework of the rule of law that respects human rights.”


Ceballos said that a positive response is expected from the National Unemployment Committee, which would have the presence and support of the United Nations and the Catholic Church to find basic rules, fundamental for any type of meeting.


The High Commissioner also asked the demonstrations not continue to obstruct the National Vaccination Plan. “Even if we reach agreements, the pandemic does not admit negotiations or spaces for deliberation. For this reason, it is important that the members of the National Unemployment Committee are open to the possibility of moving forward with the accompaniment and facilitation of two of the most credible bodies in the world: the Catholic Church and the United Nations,” he concluded.