Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen at the Security Council meeting on Colombia, January 23

23.01.2019 - Speech

(check against delivery)

Thank you very much Mr. President.

Let me start by first conveying the condolences of the German government and the German people to Colombia, to the representative of Colombia here, please convey these condolences to the injured, to the families of those deceased. There is just no justification for this heinous attack on innocent people. Of course, we all understand that the Colombian government now at the present says basta ya:  this is enough. At the same time we shouldn’t fall in the trap of those – and this has been said before – who now want to see some kind of escalation. We believe that there is no alternative to a political process. In this context let me make a plea to the ELN, that they do the first step. The first step has to be the release of all kidnapped and detainees.

I would also like to thank Jean Arnault for his work. I would like to thank the UN team on the ground. Welcome SRSG Carlos Ruiz Massieu.  You have been there only two weeks in your job, but your report was very good and very well received, but basically that is what you expect from a former ACABQ member. I would also like to welcome the Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Trujillo and José Emilio Archila the High Counsellor. Your visit here to New York demonstrates that firstly you are very committed to the peace agreement, but you are also committed to the unity of the Security Council. I think this is something that has been achieved, which is very important and to preserve this unity is very important. From all what has been said around the table, this unity is preserved.

I would like to congratulate you now on the second anniversary of the peace agreement. We welcome that President Duque has clearly expressed his commitment to the peace agreement and to the peace process and to national reconciliation.

The task now in front of you is the consolidation of the peace process and there I would like to make three points, echoing also what colleagues have said before.

First is the security situation. We have and the special representative has given concrete numbers of victims of attacks: the human rights defenders, social leaders, number of women leaders, women’s rights defenders, indigenous leaders – they all have been victims of attacks. They all have been victims of attacks because they were supporting the peace agreement. They have been supporting the implementation of the peace agreement and in particular land restitution.

For the protection of these people – I know it is a very difficult task – but this has to be one priority.

The second one is the transitional justice. This is very important. Again the SRSG had the number of cases that have been dealt with, still there remains legal uncertainty for former fighters and if that continues for a long time, this also is detrimental for the consolidation of the peace process. We would encourage you to increase the capacity of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

Thirdly, the reintegration of former FARC members: Again, progress has been made, but more could be done. In this context I would like to underline but also to confirm Germany’s support to transitional justice to building an inclusive society. I also appreciate that the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund is active in that field. I would like to encourage you to continue with your social and economic reintegration. In this context I also would echo what the French colleague earlier said with regard to the victims of crimes who have been women in many cases. I would urge you also to concentrate on the women issue, reintegration of female former combatants. This is very important, also which is a special issue for these former combatants that they care for children, which is something we would like you to support. And the inclusion of youth: It is very important that youth that have a strong desire for a future without violence, that youth have a peaceful future.

We know you have a lot of challenges: the implementation of the peace agreement, you have to cope with the million plus refugees from Venezuela, the drug challenge, a lot of tasks ahead of you, but you know the international community, the Security Council is behind you.

Thank you very much.

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