Deputy UN Humanitarian Chief Ends Visit to Colombia
(Bogota/New York, 12 June, 2011): On the final day of her five-day mission to Colombia, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg underscored the need for protection and assistance for the most vulnerable people affected by both armed conflict in parts of the country and the recent floods disaster.
"During my visit I met with people from some of the most vulnerable communities in Colombia, including Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and internally displaced persons, all of whom are severely affected by conflict and the massive flooding. I also discussed the humanitarian situation with Ministers and national and local authorities,” said Ms. Bragg. She noted the impressive response provided by the Colombian authorities, including through the Calamity Fund and flood response plan that is supported by international partners.
Catherine Bragg traveled to Tumaco in Nariño Department where she met national, indigenous and traditional community authorities, as well as national and international humanitarian partners. “I am disturbed that human rights violations, use of landmines, child recruitment by armed groups, and attacks against vulnerable communities all remain serious problems in some parts of Colombia,” she said. Ms. Bragg was however hopeful that the signing of the victims’ law, a historical moment, will address some of the needs of vulnerable communities. The United Nations will play a key role in supporting the Government of Colombia in implementing that law.
Ms. Bragg also accompanied UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his visit to flood-affected areas close to Cartagena, Bolivar Department. She reiterated the complementary support provided by the UN and its partners to address critical humanitarian gaps in the flood response. “This has been a great opportunity to emphasize the commitment of the United Nations to the people and to the Government of Colombia during one of the worst natural disasters the country has ever faced.”
The Secretary-General and President Santos further spoke about joint cooperation and collaboration to address the needs of displaced and vulnerable communities in particular in remote areas. “Humanitarian partners stand ready to work side by side with the Government of Colombia to improve information management on humanitarian gaps and work on preparedness to mitigate the effects of natural disaster,” emphasized Ms. Bragg.
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