Timeline for entries tagged “UN”

A chronology of events related to peace, security, and human rights in Colombia.

March 9, 2020

  • President Iván Duque meets with UN Secretary General António Guterres in New York. “A framework agreement has been reached for the UN and its agencies’ [presence] in our country for the 2020-2023 period,” Duque says. The meeting appears to ease some tensions between the government and UN agencies over recent human rights reports and a canceled contract for verifying crop substitution programs.
Photo source: UN.

Tags: UN, UN Verification Mission

March 4, 2020

  • Michel Forst, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, presents his report on Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Forst had a difficult relationship with the Duque government, which prevented him from traveling to the country in 2019 to do follow-up work on his preliminary findings.

Tags: Attacks on social leaders, Human Rights, UN

February 25, 2020

  • The Colombia office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) releases its annual report on the human rights situation in Colombia. It includes criticisms of the government’s implementation of the peace accord’s rural governance provisions and protections of social leaders, while documenting abuses committed by the security forces.
  • President Iván Duque criticizes “imprecisions,” adding that the report’s recommendation that the National Police pass from the Defense Ministry to the Interior Ministry is an “infringement of sovereignty.” High Counselor for Stabilization Emilio Archila calls the report a “blunder” (chambonada).
  • At a February 27 UN Human Rights Council meeting to review the report, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expresses grave concern about Colombia’s human rights situation. Colombian government representatives regret that the UN High Commissioner’s Office “missed the opportunity to produce a complete, balanced, comprehensive, and updated report that reflects precisely Colombia’s complex reality, and takes into account the precise context in which that reality happens.”
  • The “Defendamos la Paz” coalition releases a statement backing the UN agency.
Photo source: UNHCHR video.

Tags: Civil Society Peace Movement, High Counselor for Stabilization, Human Rights, UN

February 22, 2020

  • News emerges that, at some point in recent weeks, the Colombian government terminated its contract with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to monitor and verify the crop-substitution effort carried out under chapter 4 of the peace accord.
  • In a thorough February 4 report, UNODC found high levels of compliance with the crop substitution program, with very little re-planting of coca despite delays in government compliance with commitments.

Tags: Coca, Crop Substitution, UN

January 27, 2020

  • The Colombian government sends to the UN Human Rights Council a strongly worded, 20-page statement taking issue with the work of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michael Forst. On December 26, 2019, Forst had published a report that was quite critical of the government’s response to the crisis of killings of social leaders, relying significantly on data from non-governmental sources. The Colombian government had refused to allow Forst to revisit the country for a follow-up visit.

Tags: Attacks on social leaders, Human Rights, Human Rights Defenders, UN

January 14, 2020

  • In Puerto Guzmán, Putumayo, Jordan Tovar becomes the 17th social leader murdered in Colombia during the first 14 days of 2020.
  • A statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights offers grim numbers, which contradict the Colombian Presidency’s earlier claims of a 25 percent reduction in social leader killings during 2019. The UN agency’s 2020 count is smaller because it doesn’t count fully verified killings.

We are deeply troubled by the staggering number of human rights defenders killed in Colombia during 2019. According to our records, 107 activists were killed last year, and our staff in Colombia are still in the process of verifying 13 additional cases reported during 2019 which, if confirmed, would raise the annual total to 120 killings. Attacks on human rights defenders had already intensified during 2018, when 115 killings were confirmed by the UN Human Rights Office in Colombia. And this terrible trend is showing no let-up in 2020, with at least 10 human rights defenders already reportedly killed during the first 13 days of January.

Tags: Attacks on social leaders, UN

January 13, 2020

  • UN Verification Mission Head Carlos Ruiz Massieu presents the Mission’s latest findings to the UN Security Council. “It is urgent,” Ruiz Massieu says, that the parties establish and implement “a public policy to dismantle illegal armed groups, criminal structures and their support networks through the National Commission on Security Guarantees,” as foreseen in the peace accord.

Tags: Attacks on social leaders, National Security Guarantees Commission, UN, UN Verification Mission

January 8, 2020

  • President Duque meets with UN Verification Mission Head Carlos Ruiz Massieu to go over the Mission’s findings, as documented in the Secretary-General’s latest report to the Security Council. Duque calls on the Mission to extend its mandate to 2022. It is currently set to expire at the end of 2020.
  • Ruiz Massieu says that although “very important advances” had been made in the accord’s implementation, it faced “great challenges.”
  • A FARC communiqué rejects President Duque’s claims, following his meeting with Ruiz Massieu, that the government has made significant advances in implementing the peace accord. The process “is going through a critical moment,” according to the ex-guerrillas, who called on the UN verification to exercise “greater neutrality.” The FARC called out the government for referring at all moments to its own “peace with legality” policy instead of to the peace accord.
Photo source: Colombian Presidency

Tags: Compliance with Commitments, Politics of Peace, UN, UN Verification Mission