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Tuesday, 16 January 2018 08:34

National Committee for Reincorporation speak to UN Guterres

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Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, our cordial greeting and recognition of the efforts you are making for the peace of Colombia and the world.

After the first year of implementation of the Final Agreement, and immersed in a new year, complex because of the electoral schedule awaiting us, we received with great expectations your visit, effective demonstration of the support of the international community to the desire to build a full peace for Colombia, with social justice and make this hemisphere, a territory free of armed conflicts.

The UN Mission in Colombia, Mr. Jean Arnault, has given you an objective balance, among other issues, of the process of economic and social reintegration of the Farian [FARC former guerrillas] community in all activities within the framework of legality. Without wishing to be repetitive or to counter that information, we want to contribute our vision of the reality that to date thousands of ex-members of the FARC-EP, their families and the communities that have, with hope, embraced this process live.

We want to refer to three key aspects and two transversal components that, from our reading, are essential to achieve a successful reincorporation, and therefore contribute in an accurate manner to the construction of a stable and lasting peace.

- First, we will refer to the legal security of men and women who make up the Farian community. Initially, accreditation, as is public knowledge, constitutes the doorway to the process of reincorporation by making the members of the Farian community creditors of the rights acquired for having manifested their collective will for peace.

Uncertainty grows because after a year of signing the Final Agreement, 2.428 do not have received any accreditation, which has an impact on obtaining the identity card and later on accessing economic and social guarantees.

All our expectations are focused on the fact that the provisions of the Final Agreement on international accompaniment are materialized, fundamentally the review of the situation of persons deprived of their liberty, a task in which the UN Second Mission plays a decisive role to make the Colombian State assume the signed commitment. More than 636 people remain in Colombian prisons and Simón Trinidad and four other comrades in the prisons of the world, exposed to the vexations of the penitentiary regimes and excluded from the rights they are entitled to because they are part of the Final Agreement.

It is inadmissible that one year after the agreement was signed, the databases of state institutions have not been updated, causing many members of the Farian community to be called and detained by the security forces, ignoring the developments in terms of amnesty and pardon that have been agreed.

Furthermore the inabilities that restrict the right to work, restricting the labor opportunities of the members of the FARC-EP in the process of reincorporation, and lately the suspension of political rights that puts into question the essence of the agreement that is the political participation.

- Second, the implementation of the agreement regarding the physical security of the community of former guerrillas and leaders of popular organizations and human rights defenders in the territories where the conflict took place. On this we value the developments that in this matter were reached during the first year of implementation of the Final Agreement.

Undoubtedly, having regulations in line with the security challenges presented to Colombia is an appropriate step in the right direction. However, we are concerned about the fact that to date more than 140 social leaders and 47 members of the Farian community have been murdered (34 former guerrillas and 13 family members).

Our concern and that of the general public grows due to the lack of effective measures to dismantle the systematic violation of human rights, of which is victim also the population in the process of reincorporation.

We trust that the United Nations will strengthen its accompaniment actions to the reincorporating community and to the inhabitants of the regions that are victims of the conflict, so that the Colombian State implements the mechanisms that the Havana agreements provided, enabling the communities in general to feel that peace does not cost us to lose our lives but instead favour hope.

- Third, the indispensable socio-economic security was embodied in the Final Agreement, as part of the strengthening of autonomous practices aimed at strengthening the social and solidarity economy.

For this practice we have established ECOMUN with all the difficulties that this task represents for a social group that does not yet have the necessary documentation to comply with the procedures that are required. Even so, we have known how to get ahead and, to date, 42 cooperatives have been formed in the 26 Territorial Spaces of Training and Reincorporation and in the new places of collective settlement of members of this new community in the process of reincorporation.

However, as indicated in the Quarterly Report of the Secretary General to the Security Council on the Verification Mission, although the Final Agreement established the commitment of access to land for the execution of productive projects for economic reincorporation, it is also true that no specific measures were established for access to land.

It is incoherent that in a process of reincorporation of thousands of men and women with a deep agrarian vocation and an intense disposition to redefine peasant life, there is no political will to make viable the access to land for productive projects and housing.

We emphasize that the Final Agreement in general terms specified some elements on access to land and later, in Decree Law 902 of 2017, a specific route was established on access to it for the reincorporation process.

While sharing with the United Nations Organization the concern about this problem, we also have the confidence that their good offices and recommendations will allow the government and the Colombian State to guarantee urgently access and ownership, to the land for the process of reincorporation.

The international experience, as well as the national one, shows that the issues related to the reincorporation of former guerrillas into civilian life demand adjustments and additional measures to what was agreed in the peace agreements, our reality demands it.

Given that the economic support is not everything we need access to fundamental rights: health, education, housing, culture, recreation and sports, are a great challenge in this process, first of all, because we are not alien to the realities of the communities that inhabit the Colombian countryside, where the State has not yet arrived.

With this we want to point out that in the field of education the developments made have been thanks to the support of the international community, health is precarious and does not correspond to the needs of a population that emerges from an armed conflict and therefore requires specialized attention that it is non-existent in rurality.

The right to decent housing has not yet been addressed and the same applies to culture, recreation and sports. As guarantors and promoters of human rights, we respectfully request that you intercede with the Colombian State to comply with its obligations to these new citizens.

Finally, we share the Mission's findings: Colombia has no experience in terms of collective reincorporation and has not developed strategies according to the realities of rurality, the center of the current process.

We fully share one of the conclusions also stated by the Mission that a National Reintegration Plan and its respective Territorial Plans are urgently needed. The latter, built in a participatory manner, both by the Farian community and by the communities living in those same territories and which have historically been excluded from the effective enjoyment of rights.

To do this, we believe it is essential to raise the level of the National Council for Reincorporation and involve the local authorities in the Territorial Reintegration Councils.

Reincorporation, from our perspective, constitutes an opportunity, without equal, to promote the economic development and to deepen democracy reincorporating the State to the marginalized territories where historically its presence has been through military and police; rebuilding the social fabric and reconciling the nation, guaranteeing their fundamental rights and dignified life.

Our commitment is for the peace of Colombia, the continent and the world.

We are optimistic that in this new battlefield in democracy and for democracy a new citizenship subject of rights, mobilizing and guarantor of non-repetition will be expressed.

Let us deny the confidence that Colombia has the support of the United Nations and of you Mr. Antonio Guterrez as Secretary General.

Thank you very much.

Bogotá January 13, 2018.