I welcome the participation of the Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Alvaro Leyva, in this meeting. His presence demonstrates the continued cooperation between Colombia and this Council. I also thank the Special Envoy, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, and the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, for their presentations. My thanks also go to Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri for his statement.
For more than 20 years, Switzerland has actively supported efforts to achieve lasting peace in Colombia, particularly through political participation and activities in the field of dealing with the past. We are aware that building a lasting peace is rarely a linear process and therefore welcome the renewed commitment of the parties to advance the full implementation of the Final Peace Agreement.
As an accompanying state in the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the ELN, we commend the progress achieved in the second round of negotiations and highlight the Colombian government's continued dialogue with all the main actors and armed groups. Following the recent violent actions, we call on all armed actors to keep the channels of dialogue open, increase efforts to reach ceasefire agreements and put an end to hostilities.
Switzerland underlines the remarkable work and adaptability of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia in carrying out its mandate, as well as its close cooperation with all actors involved. For the first time since the expansion of the Mission's mandate, the Council has received a comprehensive progress report including the implementation of the rural reform and the ethnic chapter of the Peace Agreement.
I would like to highlight the three following points:
First, violence against social leaders, human rights defenders, and ex-combatants remains alarming. The conflict-related violence as well as the resulting displacement and confinement of civilians, mainly of Afro-Colombian and indigenous origin, require humanitarian and rapid de-escalation measures. Switzerland supports the Secretary-General's call for an increased state presence in conflict-affected areas to combat violence. Furthermore, the widespread use of explosive devices by non-State armed groups and their humanitarian consequences remain a cause for concern. Switzerland condemns the use of anti-personnel mines, which disproportionately affect civilians. As part of our integrated mine action program, we support Humanicemos Desminado Humanitario, an organization formed by former combatants that exemplifies the reintegration and confidence-building efforts achieved through the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
Secondly, Switzerland welcomes, thanks in part to the continued advocacy of civil society, the opening of the eleventh and final case by the Special Court for Peace on sexual and gender-based violence. The participatory process of developing recommendations for reparations highlights the victim-centered approach of the transitional justice process in Colombia. In preparation for the issuance of the first reparations sentences by the Special Court, it is essential to ensure that they will be implemented in order to respect the rights of the victims. In this regard, Switzerland calls for the optimization of institutional coordination and financial allocation for the integral system in order to guarantee the adequate implementation capacity, including of the recommendations of the Truth Commission. Improving information sharing is also necessary to advance the search for missing persons.
Finally, Switzerland hopes that this Council will once again stand united in responding to Colombia's call to expand the Mission's mandate to include the monitoring of ceasefires. In this eventuality, Switzerland is ready to support such efforts based on its long-standing experience. We reiterate our complete support for the full implementation of the Peace Agreement and remain ready to accompany the dialogue efforts for the establishment of a lasting peace.
I would like to conclude with the words of the National Center for Historical Memory in Bogotá: "Reconocer, visibilizar, dignificar y humanizar a las víctimas son compromisos inherentes al derecho a la verdad y a la reparación, y al deber de memoria del Estado frente a ellas.”