UN to monitor peace deal b/w Colombia’s govt and its largest rebel group


The Security Council on Wednesday unanimously authorised the UN political mission in Colombia to negotiate and implement the cease-fire agreement between the government and the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army.
The council also expressed willingness to do the same if a cease-fire is reached with another armed group, the Estado Mayor Central.
The UN has been monitoring a 2016 peace accord between the government and Colombia’s then largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. It ended more than 50 years of war in which over 2.2 lakh people died and nearly 60 lakh people were displaced.
More than 14,000 FARC fighters gave up their weapons under that agreement, but violence between some rebel groups has grown in parts of Colombia.
Colombia’s government asked the council to extend the UN mission’s verification mandate to include the June cease-fire deal with the National Liberation Army. The rebel group was founded in the 1960s by union leaders, students and priests inspired by the Cuban revolution.
The Security Council said the agreement “should contribute to improving the humanitarian situation in conflict-affected areas” and it encouraged the government and the National Liberation Army “to continue strengthening the protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law”.
The UN political mission, whose year-long mandate expires on October 31, has an authorised strength of 120 observers. The resolution authorises up to 68 additional observers and an “appropriate civilian component” to take on the additional job of verifying the cease-fire with the National Liberation Army.
The council expressed willingness to consider another expansion of the UN mission’s mandate if a cease-fire is agreed by Colombia’s government and the Estado Mayor Central armed group. The group is led by former FARC commanders who refused to join the 2016 peace deal.
Colombia’s government has ordered its military to cease attacks on several armed groups in the country till December 31, as part of an effort to start simultaneous peace talks with different groups.