We, the eleven Security Council signatories of the Statement of Shared Commitments for the principles of Women, Peace, and Security — Ecuador, Guyana, Japan, Malta, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and my own country France — have come together to express our full support for peace in Colombia and for the role women play in it.
We would like to emphasize four key aspects.
Firstly, it is paramount to fully implement the gender-related provisions of the 2016 Peace Agreement, notably regarding the comprehensive rural reform and the ethnic chapter. Rural women must have access to land on equal terms. The rights of all women and girls, including those belonging to minorities, must be fully respected.
We commend the development of the first Colombian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which may be approved shortly, and the participatory process undertaken by the Government of Colombia in its development. We also commend the reactivation of the High-Level Forum on Gender.
The UN Verification Mission plays a vital role in monitoring the implementation of the peace process. We praise the close collaboration between the Mission and the UN Country Team on gender issues. We underline that Resolution 2704, which was unanimously adopted in October 2023, emphasizes the efforts of the mission to integrate a gender perspective across all pillars of its work. We also commend the work of the expert appointed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Secondly, in the face of the atrocities committed against women and girls during the conflict, we reaffirm the importance of holding perpetrators accountable and of adopting a survivor-centred approach taking into consideration their holistic needs. We call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law.
We commend the work of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and notably the opening of Case 11, which is the first macro-case on sexual and gender-based violence. We recall that its magistrates and witnesses are to be protected from any threat.
It is crucial to ensure comprehensive assistance to the victims and to the survivors, especially to those who continue to experience severe physical and psycho-social consequences.
Thirdly, we underline the importance to ensure the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women from diverse backgrounds in Colombia’s peace processes. We praise the role played by women negotiators, guarantors and human rights defenders from civil society in all these processes. We pay tribute to these courageous peacebuilders. We welcome the recent appointment of a woman, Ms Vera Grabe, as the head of the Government delegation to the peace talks with the ELN.
Fourthly, we express deep concern about the continued high levels of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence in the country, which disproportionately targets women and girls, particularly those belonging to minorities. We are alarmed by the spike in cases of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and by the persistence of violence against women leaders and human rights defenders.
We condemn with the strongest words these forms of violence. All perpetrators must be held accountable. We encourage current processes and any future peace arrangements to tackle all these issues.
Through its evident willingness and determination to build peace through inclusive dialogue, Colombia is showing the example. Although there are still numerous challenges to overcome, Colombia is on the right path.
We expect today’s meeting to offer an opportunity to reflect on these questions.