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"Victims are at the center of all our efforts", Foreign Affairs Minister Claudia Blum

Bogota (Jan. 21/21). During the Security Council session, Minister Blum reiterated the Colombian Government's request to extend the mandate of the Verification Mission.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Claudia Blum, attended today the session of the UN Security Council where the international organization's report on the UN Verification Mission, led by Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, was presented.

The Foreign Minister thanked on behalf of the National Government for the presentation of the report and the recognition of Colombia's progress in the Peace with Legality (Paz con Legalidad) policy. Among the accomplishments, the report recognizes the considerable decrease in violence over the last four years in Colombia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that this remarkable reduction has been an important trend since 2002.

The report highlights the results of social investments benefiting communities affected by decades of violence and describes advancements in the reincorporation of ex-combatants and other aspects of the implementation of the 2016 Agreement.

"These achievements demonstrate President Iván Duque's unwavering commitment to peace in Colombia, the strengthening of the rule of law and the development of territories that have lived in conditions of poverty and vulnerability," stated the foreign minister.

Regarding the priority challenges, the Foreign Minister referred to the threats affecting communities, leaders and former combatants. She noted that "The international community knows that the Agreement was signed between two parties in 2016, in the midst of other existing violence sources. Illegal armed groups that persist in several areas of the territory and others that have emerged, all exacerbated by drug trafficking and other illegal economies, are a threat to the security of Colombians." The Foreign Minister described advances in protection measures, judicial investigations and State action against these illegal groups as core elements of the State's comprehensive response to these threats.

The Minister confirmed that "victims are at the core of all our efforts" and reported the recent extension of the Victims and Land Restitution Law (Ley de Víctimas y Restitución de Tierras) for an additional 10 years. She stressed that "President Duque's government has delivered more than 220 thousand individual compensations to victims for a total of 498 million dollars, in addition to collective reparations", she added.

Meanwhile, to guarantee the rights of the victims to truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, she referred to the budgetary support for the Transitional Justice System which in 2020 was allocated 148.4 million dollars, distributed as follows: 82.7 for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz – JEP); 39.8 for the Unit for the Search for Disappeared Persons (Unidad de Búsqueda de Personas Desaparecidas) and 25.9 for the Truth Commission (Comisión de la Verdad). Between 2019 and 2020 there was a 28% increase in funding for the System, despite the impact of the pandemic and budget reductions to other state institutions.

Notably, Minister Blum informed the UN Security Council that President Iván Duque had recently sent a letter to the Secretary General and the Security Council requesting to consider the addition to the Verification Mission's mandate concerning the verification of compliance of sanctions adopted by the JEP. "The objective of this request is to ensure the reparative component of truth and justice, which must be fulfilled by those who have committed crimes. It is necessary that Colombian people can trust the justice system to progress in the victims’ reparation and national peaceful coexistence," said the high level official.

"Although we still have a long way to go, the Peace with Legality policy contributes to advancing towards a more just and peaceful society. The support of the international community is essential to this process," concluded Foreign Minister Claudia Blum.

NOTE: The UN Security Council is currently composed by China, Estonia, France, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.


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