United Nations urges defense of victims’ human rights in Colombian peace negotiations

Archive – Representatives of the delegations of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government hold a press conference after the peace talks at the Humboldt Hotel. – Jesus Vargas/dpa

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has welcomed this Wednesday the ‘Total Peace’ policy carried out by the Government of Gustavo Petro with the National Liberation Army (ELN), highlighting the importance of defending the Human Rights of the victims.

«In relation to the ongoing peace negotiations, it is important that the Colombian authorities ensure that negotiations with the ELN and dialogues with other armed actors take full account of human rights from the outset,» said Turk, according to a statement issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

According to Turk, peace negotiations must include «a specific focus» on victims and affected communities, with their participation guaranteed. «It will be crucial that women are able to participate meaningfully in peace talks,» she reiterated.

In this sense, she has stressed that peace with armed groups «is not enough on its own,» underlining the importance of implementing the agreement signed in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the country’s rural development.

«The magnitude of the challenges is overwhelming, decades-long conflicts and violence, deep-rooted structural inequalities, discrimination and exclusion, and the weak or non-existent presence of the State in many rural areas affected by conflicts,» Turk has listed, to then offer the expertise of his office to accompany the negotiations and advise on Human Rights issues.