India willing to support Colombia in its journey towards peace, says TS Tirumurti at UNSC
Commending the remarkable progress in the process of peacebuilding in Colombia, India on Thursday said it is willing to support Bogota in its journey towards peace, progress, and prosperity.
Speaking at United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on Colombia, TS Tirumurti, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, said democracy in Colombia is deepening through increased political participation and applauded the efforts of the people and the Government of Colombia in realising the achievements of the last four years.
A peace deal was signed between the previous Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016. The deal was meant to put an end to a bloody 50-year armed conflict that killed over 260,000 and displaced millions in Colombia.
"Colombia is witnessing remarkable progress in the implementation of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace. The denouncement of violence, laying down of arms by the FARC-EP and its transformation into a political party; the commitment and resolve of the Government of Colombia to the Agreement and the central role of the UN in its implementation, have all positively contributed to the process of peacebuilding in Colombia," Tirumurti said.
"The conflict-affected communities are witnessing the fruits of long-overdue investments in their regions, contributing to socio-economic development. The extent of violence of this decades-long armed conflict is decreasing, and security situation is slowly improving in the rural areas," he added.
India noted that the implementation of the Peace Agreement has gained further ground in the last four months despite challenges, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tirumurti said that the Colombian leadership and authorities have continued to engage with former FARC combatants to address problems in the re-integration progress.
"...The process of purchase of land for former combatants living in the erstwhile Territorial Areas for Training and Reintegration (TATR) has gained momentum; and the National Reintegration Council has started holding sessions at the regional level. The National Commission on Security. We, therefore applaud the efforts of the people and the Government of Colombia in realizing the achievements of the last four years," he said.
As path ahead in the implementation of the Peace Agreement remains both complex and challenging, he emphasised the following points including that the Transitional Justice Mechanism should be more responsive to securing justice for the victims of the conflict.
"The longstanding gap in the integrated presence of the State between urban and rural areas, especially those affected by the conflict needs to be addressed more effectively. There have been reports that suggest that during the pandemic, security vulnerabilities have increased, especially in remote areas where State presence is limited. The enhanced presence of the State authorities will help tackle the challenges posed by organised criminal groups and drug traffickers," he said.
"The recent killings of former combatants, social leaders, and human rights defenders necessitates the strengthening of the Tripartite Protection and Security Mechanism. The Transitional Justice Mechanism should be more responsive to securing justice for the victims of the conflict. Strengthening local judicial capacity, particularly in the regions most affected by the violence, is also key to combating such violence. The work of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Attorney-General's Office, created by the Peace Agreement, therefore, remains critical," he added.
India has special relations with Colombia. Both the countries celebrated 60 years of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2019, said the Envoy.
"As Colombia marches ahead as one of the major economies in Latin America, India as a long-standing partner, remains willing to support Colombia in its journey towards peace," he added.