Bogota, February 28, 2017 – The UN Mission will begin to verify the FARC-EP’s laying down of arms tomorrow, 1 March. The process should conclude on May 29, as agreed by the parties, 180 days after the Final Agreement came into force.
Despite the logistical challenges that continue to hamper the successful implementation of the Final Agreement on the Definitive Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and the Laying Down of Arms, the Mission welcomes the parties’ decision to initiate without further delay of the weapons laydown process.
In keeping with its mandate, starting tomorrow the UN Mission will proceed to identify and register all weapons present in the FARC-EP camps in the 26 zones where members are currently located and where they will transition to civilian life.
Groups of UN Mission observers will begin moving into FARC-EP camps, which are still mostly temporary, for the continuous monitoring of the registered weapons. The Mission currently has the 450 women and men observers necessary for the full accomplishment of its functions.
Simultaneously, the Mission will install the containers, which are already in local sites, in the FARC-EP camps. At these storage sites the Mission will progressively receive weapons under the constant monitoring of its observers.
As a first step of the gradual storage of weapons process, the Mission will receive the armaments from the FARC-EP members who are part of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.
In parallel and in coordination with the FARC-EP, the Mission will immediately begin the process of planning and verification of the destruction of unstable weapons such as munition, mines and explosives.
This is a partial but substantive advance in the laying down of arms process, which the Mission values as a good starting point towards overcoming implementation delays. We trust that this process can be accelerated, as part of a virtuous dynamic of simultaneous progress in the implementation of all aspects of the Peace Agreement. This will inspires confidence to those who were party to the conflict and to Colombian society as a whole.
In this regard, the Mission values the decisions announced by the Government today regarding the legal guarantees of FARC-EP members. This will be a factor of tranquility in the complex process of transition to civilian life.
The Mission will regularly report on the laying down of arms progress.
Carolina Azevedo, Chief of Communications, UN Mission in Colombia, email@example.com
Liliana Garavito, Information Officer, UN Mission in Colombia, firstname.lastname@example.org