UNSC in Colombia to examine challenges of FARC peace deal

Latin America

A United Nations Security Council delegation visited Colombia to monitor the peace process. They came at a critical moment.

Hundreds of former FARC members have been killed since a 2016 agreement was reached. CGTN’s Michelle Begue had more from Bogota.

Fifteen representatives of the United Nations Security Council visited Colombia to support efforts to implement a peace agreement.

“This has been an opportunity to receive Colombia’s commitment for peace, and to reiterate the National Security Council’s unity in respects to Colombia’s peace process which continues to be an example for Latin America and all of the international community,” Gustavo Meza Cuadra, U.N. Security Council President, said.

In 2016, a peace accord was signed to end 50 years of armed conflict with the leftist guerrilla group known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. While the agreement was considered a huge win by the international community, it’s been difficult to implement.

On Friday, the delegation from the U.N. Security Council held a private meeting with the Colombian President Ivan Duque. The president requested the U.N. monitoring commission remain in the country another year.

The group also met with FARC members and government agencies dedicated to the implementation of the peace accord.

One peace expert said peace efforts need support now more than ever from the international community.

“There is a very substantial and positive evolution in terms of the FARC disarmament and conversion into a political party,” Miguel Barreto Henriques, Director of the Peacebuilding Institute at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. “But the root causes of the conflict, rural reform, political participation, drug trade have faced enormous obstacles.”

On Thursday, FARC party Senator Carlos Antonio Lozada asked the Colombian prosecutor’s office to investigate an alleged plan to kill FARC party leaders. The FARC claimed more than 140 guerrillas have been killed since the signing of the accord. The United Nations peace observers have verified most of them.

“In the peace agreement, what we agreed to is that we laid down our arms, because the state was able to guarantee the lives of all Colombians including those who signed the peace agreement,” Lozada said. “That is what we are asking, that the state fulfill that constitutional obligation.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Colombia and others to work together toward peace. He added that “the challenges in Colombia are too great” for the country to remain divided.