Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands
Arria Formula meeting on “A Milestone Year for Peaceful Future: Transitional Justice in Colombia”
Distinguished members of the Council,
Distinguished delegates and guests,
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights would like to recognize the significant contribution of the Colombian Truth Commission, in particular of its Chair, Padre Francisco de Roux, and that of civil society organizations involved in the process to advance the rights of the victims of long-standing human rights violations in Colombia.
The report of the Truth Commission is itself a tribute to the courage and determination of victims in their quest for truth.
The work carried out by the Truth Commission in remote areas of the country, recognizing the suffering of the most marginalized and excluded in society, despite the pandemic and despite increasing violence by armed groups, is remarkable. The public hearings held, the events where perpetrators recognized their responsibility and victims were able to express their sentiments and recount the impact of the serious violations and atrocities, the numerous events held to bring visibility to the situation of children, women, indigenous and afro-Colombian people, have all contributed to redress injuries of the past.
The important recommendations put forward by the Truth Commission address the root causes of the conflict and the need to work to build a culture of peace based on truth and justice.
As expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a press release issued on 28 June, the day of the publication of the report, “without truth, reconciliation is not possible. Without reconciliation, the risk of repetition is real”.
We particularly welcome the recommendations put forward in relation to the situation of impunity and the need for justice, as well as those that encourage security sector reform and focus on the need to build trust in State institutions.
The Truth Commission has highlighted the need to address historic inequalities, discrimination and racism and we support its recommendations for the full implementation of the peace accord and strengthening of democracy in the country.
It has been a real privilege for the UN Human Rights Office in Colombia to work alongside the Truth Commission and with all the transitional justice institutions in the country, as explicitly requested of our Office in Chapter 5 of the Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.
Our Office will continue to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations and the legacy of the Truth Commission.
Implementing the recommendations is essential to promote reforms and to consolidate the measures and policies needed to ensure non-repetition and the enhancement of peace, democracy and the rule of law.
In parallel, we will continue to assist Colombia’s other transitional justice mechanisms: the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Special Unit for the Search of Missing Persons. To sustain peace in Colombia, its transitional justice system must be implemented comprehensively.
Allow me, therefore, to stress the importance of the Security Council’s continued support for transitional justice in Colombia in all its dimensions.