The Security Council today decided to establish a new United Nations political mission in Colombia that will succeed the current one and will shift from monitoring the disarmament of former combatants to verifying their political, economic and social reintegration.
According to a unanimously adopted resolution, the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia will, on 26 September 2017, replace the current mission, which is responsible for monitoring and verifying the laying down of arms by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and the bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities between the Government and the FARC-EP. In November last year, the two sides signed a peace deal, ending a 50-year conflict.
The new political mission, to be headed by a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for an initial period of 12 months, is expected to verify implementation of several measures of the Final Agreement, including political, economic and social reincorporation of the FARC-EP; the implementation of personal and collective security guarantees; and comprehensive programmes on security and protection measures for communities and organisations in conflict-affected areas.
The resolution calls on the current UN Mission in Colombia to start “provisional work anticipated by the Verification Mission…within its current configuration and capacity” up until the time its mandate ends on 25 September, and requests the Secretary-General to present detailed recommendations to the Security Council regarding the size and operational aspects and mandate of the Verification Mission, within 45 days of this resolution’s adoption.
Jean Arnault, Head of the current UN Mission in Colombia, issued a statement from Bogota welcoming the decision, including the Council’s request that the Mission “begin these verification tasks as of the present date, within available resources.”
He said the Mission stands ready to carry out these new tasks, and, as it has done for the ceasefire and laying down of arms, will: present an impartial balance on compliance with the commitments so far to the parties and to society; aim to propose solutions and combine forces for its implementation; seek to generate confidence and contribute to securing the support of the international community for the peace process in Colombia.
“To fulfill these commitments, the Mission is reassigning a part of its resources and personnel to local sites and regional offices, without undermining the execution of its tasks related to the ceasefire and laying down of weapons,” added Mr. Arnault.