MP questions Minister on advances in Colombian peace process

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 16 February 2017

15 February 2017

Written questions to the Minister of State responsible for Colombia.

Catherine West, Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the Colombian peace process.

Alan Duncan, Minister of State

Significant progress has been made in implementing the peace deal since Congress approved the revised agreement in November. An Amnesty Law was passed on 28 December - an important step in the demobilisation of FARC members.

More than 5,000 FARC members have moved to the Transition Zones in the last week, and have begun to disarm, monitored by the UN special Political Mission. The Colombian Ambassador reassured me on 7 February that this process is on track. However, significant logistical challenges remain and so we welcome news that the UN Mission is assisting the Colombian Government to speed up construction of accommodation and access to water. We also welcome President Santo's creation of a new 'inner cabinet' to improve coordination across government to support delivery of the peace agreement.

The UK continues to support implementation of the peace agreement through our diplomatic, financial and technical assistance to peace-building, including advice from our experience in Northern Ireland. However, we are concerned by ongoing intimidation of human rights defenders (HRDs) by illegal armed groups and support the Government of Colombia's efforts to investigate attacks and bring those responsible to justice. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns regarding individual cases with the Colombian Government and seek an update on plans to improve security in the affected areas.

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