The Defend the Peace movement, a coalition of peace negotiators, members of Colombia’s Congress, and prominent non-governmental organizations that WOLA forms part of, released a statement on June 7 thanking the United Nations for helping solidify peace in Colombia. The coalition released this statement in response to recent statements made by President Duque and Senator Uribe against this international body.
On June 6, former President Alvaro Uribe Velez criticized the United Nations and spread false information about its role in Colombia. Uribe’s defensive attack on the UN was a direct response to a statement issued by UN experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard, concerning the recent murder of former FARC combatant Dilmar Torres at the hands of Colombian soldiers on April 22 in Northern Santander. In that statement Colombia is asked to “stop inciting violence against the demobilized FARC” and to “implement the peace accords.” President Duque publicly stated that the UN report was premature and ill-intentioned.
Uribe’s statement comes the same day that President Ivan Duque advance the Special Jurisdiction for Peace’s (JEP) statutory law after having attempted to alter it by presenting the Congress with objections. While Duque, Uribe and others who wish to undermine the transitional justice system are likely to propose new ways to undo the hard won gains of the peace accords, President Duque signing the statutory law is a signal that their efforts are failing.
Here is the full text translated into English:
Recognition of the Immense Contribution of the United Nations to Peace in Colombia
A Declaration of the Defend the Peace Movement
The Defend the Peace movement rejects the attacks against the United Nations Organization, and in particular the UN Security Council’s Verification Mission of thepeace process in Colombia. At the same time, we acknowledge and appreciate the immense support that this world organization has made to the dialogues that led to the signing of the Final Agreement for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace, to the implementation of diverse aspects of that agreement, and the reincorporation of the individuals who were part of the FARC.
The Secretary General, the member states of the Security Council, and the UN General Assembly, all have consistently encouraged the Colombian people, the National Government and those who laid down their weapons—to persevere, regardless of the difficulties in the peace process. They have also made it clear that Colombia’s example in this endeavor “is an inspiration for all those who fight to put an end to armed conflicts throughout the world through negotiations”. Likewise, the United Nations system and each of its agencies have called for the respect of the lives of the social leaders, the peace activists, the human rights advocates, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the comprehensive system that guarantees the rights of the victims.
In our globalized world, the collaboration of international organizations in the construction of peace and their observance of the respect for human rights cannot be misunderstood as a challenge or as an affront to governments. Such positions are characteristic of authoritarian and narrow nationalist ideological conceptions. With more reason, these conceptions must be rejected if, in order to discredit legitimate international collaboration, the method of systematic misinformation and lies is used.
On the contrary, Defend the Peace considers it necessary to maintain and strengthen the presence of the UN in Colombia and welcomes the upcoming visit to our country of representatives of the Security Council.