The Security Council holds a meeting on Colombia at the UN headquarters in New York, on Oct. 14, 2021. (Loey Felipe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Violence and land issues continue to pose challenges to the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), said the top United Nations (UN) envoy for Colombia on Thursday.
"We continue to follow security issues in various regions with utmost concern. It is particularly grave that the very areas prioritized for the agreement's implementation ... are the ones facing the direst situations," said Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the UN secretary-general's special representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.
To date, 296 men and women who laid down their arms in good faith have lost their lives, mostly because of the actions of illegal armed actors and criminal organizations, he told the Security Council in a briefing.
Conflict-affected communities, former combatants and social leaders still bear the brunt of the actions of illegal armed actors taking advantage of a limited state presence, poverty and illicit economies. Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities are being disproportionately affected by all kinds of violence, from killings of their leaders to displacements and confinements. This situation demands the urgent and simultaneous implementation of all security guarantee provisions of the agreement, he said.
Five years into the implementation of the peace agreement, there is broad consensus on the essential role that land plays to anchor the reintegration process, especially with regards to housing and productive initiatives, said Massieu.
He had witnessed the anxiety of former combatants over investing additional resources and their frustration due to cost overruns, given that they operate on rented land.
The important efforts made by the government to acquire land for former combatants are worth redoubling so that the endeavors of more former combatants across the country can take root, he said.
"However fruitful the early stages may have been, the long-term success of initial investments is contingent upon the agreement's promise of reshaping rural Colombia by establishing sustainable development opportunities and state services and institutions for communities whose expectations remain unfulfilled," he further said.
Preserving what has been achieved, making progress on pending tasks and overcoming implementation challenges will depend, to a large extent, on the parties' ability to implement the elements of the peace agreement. Their isolated implementation would be insufficient to deactivate the factors that underpinned decades of armed conflict and to achieve the peace agreement's transformative potential, he said.
Even amid great challenges, the Colombian peace process continues to demonstrate, with vivid examples, the benefits of putting an end to the conflict through a negotiated agreement and ensuring that victims' rights remain a priority, said Massieu. Enditem