Check Against Delivery
Let me first thank you, Carlos [Ruiz Massieu], for your statement. Thanks to the UN team in Colombia for the work under very difficult circumstances. I would like to thank Ms. Carabalí for her statement and courageous work as defender of human rights in her country. I also very much appreciate the presence of Ms. Claudia Blum, the Foreign Minister of Colombia. Her participation really is a powerful sign of the commitment of Colombia to the peace process and supporting of the Security Council. So thank you very much for attending this Security Council meeting.
I will make a few short points. First, as many have said that before, we are deeply concerned about the death toll among human rights defenders. We see that social leaders, women rights defenders, human rights defenders who support the peace agreement, and indigenous and African Colombian groups all continue to be at particular risk. I was struck by the figure that Ms. Carabalí mentioned in her statement: Since the beginning of this year, 160 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia – 160 individual individual fates. I just want to repeat names of individuals that Ms. Carabalí mentioned: Carina Garcia, Christina Bautista, Paola Del Carmen, Mina Ortiz.
Secondly, we commend the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparations and Non-Repetition for carrying on its honorable work. I remember in the Council last year, we met with the representatives of the system and they were doing really laudable work, and we are looking forward to a possible role of the UN mission in verifying compliance with the special jurisdiction for peace sanctions.
Thirdly, we welcome the renewed commitment of Cuba to maintain status as guarantor in the implementation of the peace agreement with FARC.
Fourth, on COVID-19: in Colombia, as in other countries, the security situation of women and girls have been specifically affected, and we also see a marked increase in sexual and gender-based violence, as well as violence against women leaders and female former combatants. We are also appalled that the SG report notes a 150% increase in domestic violence.
My last point: It is crucial to extend the presence of state institutions to remote and conflict-affected areas, end impunity and create a secure and stable environment for all Colombians.