United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday he was celebrating progress in implementing the 2016 peace deal between Colombia and demobilized FARC rebels, but further efforts must be redoubled to maintain economic opportunities for ex-combatants.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace accord with the government in 2016, resulting in the demobilization of some 13,000 members, including 7,000 combatants.
The agreement ended the role of the FARC in the Andean country’s long-standing internal conflict, which has left millions displaced and more than 260,000 dead.
As Colombian government measures to advance the peace agreement have progressed, further state assistance is needed to ensure the survival of projects for ex-combatants, Guterres said on a trip to the country. .
“We need to redouble our efforts to ensure the sustainability of these projects, with financial and technical support, as well as land and housing,” said Guterres during a visit to a reintegration camp located in the Colombian province of ‘Antioquia. President Ivan Duque hailed Guterres’ visit as historic. , which “will allow us to see the implementation of Peace with Legality and other programs”.
The deal faced challenges, with several former commanders – who argued the deal was not being honored – have gone back to arms, while nearly 300 ex-FARC have been killed since the signing of the deal, according to local advocacy group Indepaz.
The administration of US President Joe Biden is considering removing the FARC from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Dropping the designation for the group would serve as a show of support for the peace agreement.
The UN Secretary General also expressed his concern over the violence affecting indigenous communities across the country.
“I express the solidarity of the United Nations with the indigenous peoples of (…) Colombia in the face of the violence which continues to affect their lives, their customs and their ancestral territories,” he declared.