“Recognizing Colombia’s ownership of the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement,” the UN Security Council decided on 25 January to establish a 12-month political mission of unarmed international observers, responsible for the monitoring and verificat

The resolution was welcomed by the representative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to the UN and by the Colombian ecumenical peace initiative DIPaz.

The main goal of the political mission will be to monitor and verify the ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities.

The resolution follows a 19 January letter sent to the UN Security Council president by the Government of Colombia enclosing a Joint Communiqué between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).

The communiqué is the result of a peace process that started in November 2012, which had the Republic of Cuba and the Kingdom of Norway as guarantors.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC representative to the UN, in New York, considered the resolution’s adoption “an important step to achieve lasting and just peace in the country.”

The parties are now expected to sign a peace agreement that would end a civil war that lasted half a century, while providing an example for resolving other conflicts around the world.

Commenting on the methodology and the role of the churches and civil society, Bueno de Faria added that the proposed tripartite mechanism for verification also needs “to take into account the civil society organizations, including churches to play a role in support to the work of the political mission”, he said.

In a public letter addressed to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the leadership of the FARC and of the ELN, the Colombian ecumenical peace initiative DIPaz welcomed the decision of the Security Council and expressed its commitment to promote the key elements of the peace agreement.

“We feel that we are part of this agreement, primarily on the objectives concerning the care for the rights of the victims, the issues of territory, differentiation and gender, as well as the theme of coexistence and reconciliation, and the legitimacy of the process”, reads the letter.

The UN Secretary-General is expected to provide recommendations within 30 days of the signature of the ceasefire agreement by the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.

Bueno de Faria acknowledged the important step taken toward a lasting peace, but stressed that there is still a lot of work to be done.  “Reconciliation and reconstruction actions are deemed necessary to ensure peace with justice in Colombia”, he added.

The Security Council also expressed its willingness to consider extending the Political Mission upon the joint request of the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.

WCC affirms strong role of churches in Colombian peace process (9 September 2015)

WCC welcomes historic step towards peace in Colombia (24 September 2015)

WCC statement on agreement between Colombian government and FARC (24 September 2015)

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