Colombia

Press release about the situation in Norte Santander and FARC-EP movements

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Bogotá February 14, 2016 - The UN Mission in Colombia hails the completion of almost all FARC-EP movements to the Zones where the laying down of arms will take place, with the recent entry of the members of the 33rd Front into the Zone of Caño Indio, in the Municipality of Tibú, department of Norte de Santander, after several days of interruption near the municipality of La Gabarra.

The FARC-EP leadership’s decision to group its forces in these Zones—despite the lack of preparation of the camps in the vast majority of these areas— was positive. This decision considerably reduces the possibilities of armed contact, such as the one that took place in November 2016 in the south of Bolivar, also minimizing the risk of new incidents. Likewise, the presence of FARC-EP in these Zones should accelerate the habilitation of these camps for the laying down of arms, for the initial reincorporation, peace education and preparation for the transition to civilian life, as foreseen in the Agreement.

After a visit to the municipality of La Gabarra to learn about the conditions in which the FARC-EP’s 33 Front movement was interrupted, the UN Mission considers that delaying the implementation of the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and Laying down of Arms cannot be a means to demand full compliance with the overall Peace Agreement. The de facto measures do not contribute to creating a favorable climate for the peace process.

During the visit to La Gabarra, the Mission noted similar concerns to those heard in other departments about the insecurity of communities in places that have historically been affected by violence, in particular of new threats linked to the entry of illegal armed groups. Although the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC-EP does not resolve all forms of violence in Colombia, it is essential to address these concerns.

The complaints made by many organizations, including from social leaders and human rights defenders, on the issue of community security confirm the UN Secretary General's report to the Security Council in December 2016 on the need to move forward simultaneously in compliance of all dimensions of the Peace Agreement.

Contact:

Carolina Azevedo, Chief of Communication, UN Mission in Colombia, azevedoc@un.org

Liliana Garavito, Information Officer, UN Mission in Colombia, garavitol@un.org