Significant progress has been made since the signing of Colombia’s historic peace agreement last November—the FARC has disarmed and is now a political party; and a temporary ceasefire has been negotiated with the National Liberation Army—but difficult challenges remain and it is vital that momentum continues, especially as the country prepares for elections next year.
In the light of the current crisis in the implementation of the Colombian peace agreement, including the killings of former FARC combatants and social leaders, the changes to the special jurisdiction for peace and the lack of re-integration opportunities, will the Minister make urgent representations to the Colombian Government about their international obligations to implement the agreement as it was signed?
We fully support the Colombian Government in doing their utmost to implement the agreement as was signed. We are concerned by increasing attacks on human rights defenders, which are interrupting the passage towards a lasting peace, but we are in no doubt that responsibility for the majority of such attacks lies with illegal armed groups.
Does my right hon. Friend agree with the current and former Presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos and César Gaviria, that the continuing failed global policy of prohibition of drugs and the creation and sustaining of vast criminal enterprises serves to undermine the peace, stability and institutions of Colombia and its neighbours? Will the Government work to move towards an evidence-based policy response?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to point to the fact that drug smuggling and trading is becoming a main threat to the implementation of the peace agreement. I am reassured that the Colombian Government are investigating the deaths of several individuals who protested against coca eradication in Tumaco on 5 October.
Will the Minister see what he can do to drive concerted European action to bring supportive pressure to bear on President Santos? The President’s legacy could be an implemented peace deal, but at the moment the legislative process to underpin the peace process simply is not there. We must have action in the last six months of his term.
We are actively supporting the Colombian Government. We have provided almost £20 million from the conflict, stability and security fund. I am also proud that UK-led work has led to the UN Security Council resolutions to assist the peace-building process that we all want to see succeed.