On the fifth anniversary of the Final Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the former FARC-EP, I wish to congratulate all the parties involved, and especially the people of Colombia. Their remarkable achievements in laying the foundations for a deep societal change, and placing victims and survivors at the centre of the conflict-resolution process, demonstrate what can be accomplished through inclusive dialogue and a commitment to peace, reconciliation and positive transformation.
On this landmark anniversary, it is important to recognise and applaud the remarkable progress made in just five years. Admirable advances have been made, including the rapid demilitarisation of the ex FARC-EP, the reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life, and the introduction of development plans for conflict-affected communities.
Significant progress has also been achieved in the operation of the innovative Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, and in facilitating political participation, including through the recent creation of special transitional electoral districts for historically excluded populations. However, it is also important to acknowledge the challenges that remain; most notably the threats faced by community leaders and human rights defenders, including women leaders and those from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, as well as the protection of ex-combatants.
As with any peace process, including that of our own island, implementing the Colombian peace agreement will take time and sustained commitment. We encourage the parties to the Agreement to continue efforts to consolidate peace, in particular towards further advances in the Agreement’s transversal areas of gender and ethnicity; achieving full, equal and meaningful participation of women in political life; speeding up progress on rural reform and eliminating illicit economies; and establishing a greater State presence in rural areas.
I want to assure Colombia of Ireland’s long-term support. We will continue to engage by sharing our own experiences in peacebuilding and by supporting EU efforts in relation to Colombia, including through the role of EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia, Eamon Gilmore. We will also continue to work to support Colombia at UN level, as a member of the UN Security Council during its 2021-22 term and beyond.
I congratulate the people of Colombia once more on their extraordinary achievements. The peace brought about by the Colombian Peace Agreement is an example to the world of the merits of inclusive political dialogue, and is a credit to each and every Colombian.