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Wednesday, 20 January 2016 - Strasbourg
Colombian peace process

European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2016 in support of the peace process in Colombia (2015/3033(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolutions on the peace process and human rights situation in Colombia,

–  having regard to the special links binding the EU to Colombia, and in particular the Multiparty Trade Agreement between Colombia and Peru, and the EU and its Member States, signed in Brussels on 26 July 2012 and Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Colombia on the short-stay visa waiver, signed on 2 December 2015,

–  having regard to paragraph 44 of the Message of the EP Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) to the II EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels on the termination of the internal conflict between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the Brussels Declaration adopted at the end of the EU-CELAC Summit on 11 June 2015,

–  having regard to the statement by the High Representative of the Union, Federica Mogherini, on the Agreement of 24 September 2015 on transitional justice in Colombia, and her statement of 1 October 2015 appointing Eamon Gilmore as EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  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 just to promote economic relations between the parties, but also to consolidate peace and democracy and respect for human rights, sustainable development and the well-being of their citizens;

B.  whereas this close relationship also extends to areas of international cooperation on multilateral issues of common interest, such as the struggle for peace and the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking;

C.  whereas the internal armed conflict in Colombia has been ongoing for over fifty years, causing untold suffering to its people, both from terrorism and the activities of paramilitary groups, and giving rise to atrocities such as assassinations, enforced disappearances, kidnappings, sexual violence, child abuse, internal and external population displacements, and the scourge of anti-personnel mines;

D.  whereas the Mesa de Conversaciones (platform for talks) between the Colombian Government and the FARC was established in Havana (Cuba) on 19 November 2012 following the signing of the General Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace, on 26 August 2012, thus fulfilling the wish of the entire people of Colombia to live in peace, and acknowledging the duty of the state to promote human rights throughout its territory; whereas fair economic and social development ensures peace and is at the same time a pre-condition for the inclusive and sustainable growth of the country;

E.  whereas in the various phases of talks in Havana the negotiators reached agreements on a new Colombian countryside and comprehensive rural reform, political participation and a democratic opening to build peace, and the solution to the problem of illicit drugs;

F.  whereas on 23 September 2015 the Colombian Government and the FARC announced the conclusion of an agreement on the creation of a Special Jurisdiction for Peace under international law to uphold victims’ rights and contribute to the creation of a stable and lasting peace, to which end the parties agreed on the implementation of a Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, which included the creation of a Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition, as well as agreements on reparations for victims;

G.  whereas on 15 December 2015, the Government of Colombia and the FARC announced the conclusion of an agreement on the victims of the conflict and the establishment of the institutions provided for in the agreement of 23 September 2015;

H.  whereas the Government of Colombia, its legislative chamber and the Colombian people are sovereign in establishing the parameters of this Special Jurisdiction for Peace, whose vital task it will be to put an end to impunity, uncover the truth and judge and punish the perpetrators of crimes committed during the conflict, in particular the most serious and representative ones, ensuring there is no repetition and contributing in addition to reparations for victims;

I.  whereas putting an end to this internal conflict, which has raged for 50 years, leaving millions of victims, and securing a stable and lasting peace in Colombia are a first priority both for that country and the European Union and the international community, as demonstrated by the many statements made in support of the peace process by various countries and regional and international bodies, including the European Union;

1.  Welcomes the agreements made to date between the Government of Colombia and the FARC to achieve peace in Colombia and highlights the agreements on a comprehensive rural reform, political participation and democratic opening to build peace, solving the problem of illicit drugs and the establishing a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, including a Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition and the Special Unit for the Search for People considered to have Disappeared in the context of and on account of the conflict, in addition to the Unit for the Investigation and Dismantling of Criminal Organisations;

2.  Recognises the political effort, realism and perseverance demonstrated by both the Government of Colombia and the FARC 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 any other consideration and whose priorities are truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition; acknowledges, moreover, the important role played by victims' associations, NGOs and civil society in securing these agreements;

3.  Calls on the National Liberation Army (ELN) to commit firmly and decisively, without further delay, to peace in Colombia and urges it to enter into concomitant negotiations with the Colombian Government, to be organised along the same lines;

4.  Wishes to see the negotiations conclude as soon as possible so as to put a permanent end to the conflict and mark a real milestone in Colombia’s modern-day history; thus calls on the parties, all of Colombia’s political forces and the whole of its society to make a positive contribution to ending violence;

5.  Reiterates once again that violence is not a legitimate method of political struggle, and calls on those who have been of that conviction to embrace democracy with all its implications and requirements – as a first step, the permanent abandonment of weapons, and the defence of their ideas and aspirations through democratic rules and the rule of law;

6.  Recognises the important role played so far by Cuba and Norway as guarantor countries and Chile and Venezuela as countries accompanying the peace process; also thanks Pope Francis for his cooperation in this undertaking;

7.  Welcomes the decision of 1 October 2015 of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, to appoint Eamon Gilmore, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, as the European Union’s Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia; is pleased that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia will be able to monitor the human rights situation in Colombia once the peace agreements have been concluded;

8.  Reiterates its readiness to provide all possible assistance to support the implementation of the final peace agreement, and to this end renews its call on European Union Member States to create a trust fund to accompany the post-conflict phase, in which communities and civil society organisations are invited to participate, and to take due account of the priorities expressed by the victims in terms of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition;

9.  Stresses how important it is for the peace process to be accompanied by a determined effort to combat inequality and poverty, including by finding fair solutions for people and communities forced off their lands, and providing all of Colombia's people with access to decent work and ensuring recognition of their social and labour rights; considers that certain groups that have suffered disproportionately from the conflict, such as Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, must be given special support;

10.  Considers the establishment of a Subcommittee on Gender to ensure gender mainstreaming in negotiations and the participation of victims of sexual violence and women's rights organisations in the peace talks to be unprecedented and should be an inspiration to other peace processes around the world;

11.  Notes with satisfaction that the exclusion of crimes against humanity, genocide, serious war crimes and human rights violations from any amnesty or pardon is in line with international criminal and humanitarian law and international instruments and standards in the field of human rights;

12.  Considers it essential that the sentences passed on perpetrators of crimes play their part in victim reparations and social and political reconciliation;

13.  Recognises the efforts made by Colombia’s institutions to make progress in ensuring that human rights are fully and permanently upheld; calls on them to redouble their efforts with a view to fully eradicating the subculture of violence from a country in which 50 years of conflict have on occasion led to extra-legal responses and behaviour contrary to human rights and the rule of law in some state institutions thus reminds the Government of Colombia that it is duty-bound to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders and trade unionists; calls on these civic organisations to cooperate in restoring reconciled coexistence in Colombia;

14.  Takes a positive view of the announcement by the Colombian armed forces that Colombia’s military doctrine will be reviewed to prepare the armed forces so they respond quickly and effectively to the new challenges in the post-conflict phase whilst acting as guarantors of the peace accords; believes likewise that the recent announcement by the FARC that they will suspend military training in order to concentrate henceforth on political and cultural training as part of the process of bringing the armed conflict to an end constitutes another encouraging step in the right direction;

15.  Recommends that its Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community and its Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly monitor and, potentially, accompany the peace accords;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the rotating Presidency of the EU, the 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.

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