Motion for a resolution - B9-0231/2021Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement in Colombia

    26.4.2021 - (2021/2643(RSP))

    to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
    pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Javi López, Marek Belka
    on behalf of the S&D Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0227/2021

    Procedure : 2021/2643(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement in Colombia


    The European Parliament,

     having regard to the ‘Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace’ between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the National Government of Colombia of 24 November 2016 (the Peace Agreement),

     having regard to its resolutions on the peace process and human rights situation in Colombia, especially its last resolution of 20 January 2016 in support of the peace process in Colombia[1],

     having regard to the special links binding the EU to Colombia, in particular the Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Colombia and Peru, of the other part, signed in Brussels on 26 June 2012[2], and the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Colombia on the short-stay visa waiver, signed on 2 December 2015[3],

     having regard to the creation of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz – JEP), which delivers justice for victims of violence, mass atrocities and human rights violations, and is a fundamental element of the peace process,

     having regard to the Joint Statement of 9 February 2021 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Commissioner Janez Lenarčič on Colombia’s decision to grant temporary protection status to Venezuelan migrants,

     having regard to the report of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) of 10 February 2021 on the situation of human rights in Colombia,

     having regard to the communication of the UN System in Colombia of 26 April 2021 rejecting and condemning the recent acts of violence against communities, defenders, leaders and former combatants,

     having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson on violence against human rights defenders of 26 February 2021,

     having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas the agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP represents a significant step in the construction of a stable and lasting peace in the country;

    B. whereas the FARC-EP is complying with the agreement to lay down its weapons and has turned itself into a political party called Comunes, which intends to participate fully in the democratic process;

    C. whereas Colombia suffered a violent conflict at the hands of various paramilitary and guerrilla groups for 53 years, with 9 million victims, over 240 000 of whom were killed, 100 000 of whom disappeared and 7.7 million of whom were displaced; whereas Colombia still suffers from widespread violence, enforced disappearances, kidnappings and killings of activists and human rights defenders;

    D. whereas in September 2020, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia certified that all weapons and explosives depots had been handed over, with the UN disabling the former and the Colombian Government destroying the latter; whereas former guerrilla fighters are also moving forward in their process to reintegrate into civilian life, and whereas the legal and constitutional system in Colombia is adopting precise reforms to ensure the agreement commitments are implemented and the future of the country can be built on them;

    E. whereas the UN has reported that there is a need for more efforts to implement the Peace Agreement, because there are still high levels of violence in some rural areas with human rights defenders and social, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders being killed, former combatants being reincorporated into rebel groups and a significant deterioration of human rights;

    F. whereas in 2017, the Colombian Government initiated formal peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last active guerrilla organisation operating in Colombia after the 2016 Peace Agreement, but whereas in January 2019, shortly after the ELN exploded a car bomb at a police academy in Bogotá that killed 22 people, the Government of President Iván Duque ended the peace talks;

    G. whereas the Colombian Government has said it will not engage in peace talks until the ELN stops carrying out kidnappings, frees hostages and ceases attacks on infrastructure; whereas the government has demanded that the group declare a unilateral ceasefire, including a suspension of kidnappings and attacks against the oil and gas industry, and that its combatants group together under international observation as a precondition for holding peace talks;

    H. whereas the ELN has signalled its willingness to cease hostilities under a UN-backed moratorium on fighting so that humanitarian organisations and public health authorities can better tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic;

    I. whereas in 2020, 53 % of human rights defenders killed worldwide were in Colombia: whereas the UNHCHR has registered the killings of 133 human rights defenders and 795 threats and attacks against human rights defenders; whereas the UN Verification Mission in Colombia has documented the killings of 73 former members of the FARC-EP, making the total 248 since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016;

    J. whereas in 2020, Colombia was the country where the highest number of environmental defenders were killed, with 64 registered homicides;

    K. whereas the current level of implementation of the Peace Agreement is accentuating existing political and social divisions in the country; whereas about 30 % of the provisions of the Peace Agreement have been fully implemented and around 20 % have not yet begun to be implemented; whereas meanwhile enormous challenges in protecting human rights remain;

    L. whereas the EU and Colombia maintain a framework of close political, economic and trade cooperation established in the Memorandum of Understanding of November 2009 and the Trade Agreement between Colombia and Peru and the EU and its Member States, the ultimate aim of which is not only to promote economic relations between the parties, but also to consolidate peace, democracy and respect for human rights, sustainable development and the well-being of their citizens;

    M. whereas within a few years of its entry into force, Colombia’s JEP began to take action to prevent impunity for the serious human rights violations and abuses committed during the armed conflict and ensure that the victims receive reparations and damages for these violations; whereas it has at the same time made progress towards the establishment of a permanent and fluid dialogue with the indigenous authorities; whereas these processes are even more significant considering that the JEP has been operating in a highly polarised atmosphere;

    1. Recognises the political effort, realism and perseverance demonstrated by both the Government of Colombia led by former President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP in reconciling their conflicting views and gradually creating an area of commitment that has allowed progress to be made in achieving a stable and lasting peace and thus securing an agreement that is unique in history, places the victims above all other considerations and whose priorities are truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition; acknowledges, moreover, the important role played by victims’ associations, non-governmental organisations and civil society in securing these agreements;

    2. Highlights that the Colombian Peace Agreement is often cited as a model around the world because of its determination to address the issues that caused the conflict and its central focus on the rights and dignity of victims; recalls that all parts of such a complex, innovative agreement need to be implemented, as they are bound together in dealing with the root causes of the conflict;

    3. Stresses that Colombia is a close ally of the European Union in Latin America and that there is a need to strengthen the bilateral partnership and promote stronger multilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest;

    4. Notes the progress made in areas such as rural development programmes and the reintegration of former combatants;

    5. Welcomes the decision of Colombia to offer temporary protection status to Venezuelan migrants; underlines that this remarkable step should contribute to reducing the suffering of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, while providing opportunities for better assistance, including vaccination against COVID-19, protection and durable solutions;

    6. Welcomes all actions already taken by the JEP in order to create a future with peacebuilding at its heart, and calls on the JEP to continue its significant efforts, despite the numerous challenges;

    7. Is concerned by the delays to legislative implementation and to the adoption of changes to the judiciary that have already been agreed, including the Peace Agreement and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace;

    8. Rejects and vehemently condemns the violence exercised against communities, defenders of human rights, social and community leaders, and former combatants of the FARC-EP, a situation that has worsened in recent weeks;

    9. Calls on the ELN to put an end to the conflicts and abuses and to commit to peace in Colombia firmly, decisively and without further delay; urges the ELN to enter into concomitant negotiations with the Colombian Government and to be organised along the same lines as the FARC-EP;

    10. Welcomes the recommendation of the UN to promote structural changes helping to improve the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the human rights situation;

    11. Appreciates the recommendations that call for a stronger integrated state presence in the territories, for the adoption by the National Commission for Security Guarantees of a public policy to dismantle criminal organisations and for the protection of the work of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR);

    12. Reiterates its will to provide assistance to support the implementation of the Peace Agreement, which is to be combined with efforts to combat inequality and poverty; considers that groups that have suffered disproportionately from the conflict, such as Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, must be given special support;

    13. Is concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had direct negative effects on human rights, the budget allocated for the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the execution of agendas and timetables;

    14. Notes that the conflict has escalated in rural areas of the country where violence has soared and criminal and non-state armed groups have taken territorial and social control, having devastating effects on small-scale farming, and indigenous and afro-descendant communities; notes that several cases of forced displacement, forced recruitment, sexual violence against children and women, massacres, torture and other atrocities have been reported;

    15. Views with particular concern the problems in the department of Cauca, where the deterioration of the human rights and security situation is evident, with forced displacement and attacks against ethnic communities and authorities, as well as the impact on the public authorities;

    16. Notes that these violent events, which have a serious impact on the lives of individuals and communities, are occurring in territories where illegal armed groups and criminal organisations are present, where there are illicit economies, where minors are being recruited by rebel groups and where there is limited state presence;

    17. Recalls the utmost importance of ensuring that the state institutions are fully present in the territories, including the legal entities that are responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights;

    18. Reiterates its solidarity with all the victims and its intention to continue to assist communities, ethnic authorities and state entities in dealing with these common concerns, overcoming the conflict and advancing the consolidation of peace;

    19. Acknowledges the importance of the right to peaceful demonstration and social protest as a way of guaranteeing the construction of a democratic and inclusive society; calls for the implementation of the protocols for social protest and other mechanisms according to international standards to protect this right;

    20. Expresses its full support for the SIVJRNR;

    21. Calls for the EU and its Member States to provide international observation of the implementation of the Peace Agreement and calls for the mandate of the Special Envoy for Peace in Colombia to be renewed;

    22. Is concerned about the crackdown on fundamental rights and on human rights defenders, lawyers, protesters, journalists, bloggers, trade unionists, students, children, women’s rights activists, LGBTI people, civil society organisations, political opponents and minorities; calls on the Colombian Government to demonstrate that progress has been made in investigations into attacks on human rights defenders, social leaders and former combatants;

    23. Calls on the Colombian Government to make progress in implementing all aspects of the Peace Agreement, including the policies for comprehensive rural reform and for the substitution of illicit crops, to demonstrate progress in dismantling neo-paramilitary groups, and to ensure its own financial viability, thus demonstrating a political commitment to peace and avoiding negative speeches; also urges the Colombian Government to back the efforts of the SIVJRNR, ensuring that victims remain its focus;

    24. Urges the Colombian authorities to take measures to prevent new massacres, including by implementing the development programmes of the Peace Agreement, such as the Territorially Focused Development Plans (PDETs) and the National Programme for the Substitution of Illicitly Used Crops (PNIS), which should give priority to the presence of state civil institutions instead of increasing militarisation in the regions;

    25. Urges the Colombian State to guarantee the protection and safety of all social and political leaders, social activists and environmental and rural community defenders;

    26. Reiterates the call of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, for the immediate cessation of hostilities in order to allow COVID-19 recovery efforts in the country to progress; Urges the Colombian authorities to strengthen measures to effectively safeguard the lives and rights of all people in the territories affected by the conflict and the violence;

    27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the rotating Council presidency, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Government and the Congress of Colombia.


    Last updated: 27 April 2021
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