Describing himself as part of a new generation of Colombians, President Iván Duque Márquez told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that in the wake of the two-year old peace deal, his country was uniting around shared objectives, building a path of progress with democratic institutions.
Economic growth is being maintained in the midst of complex regional volatilities, with cities transforming into productive sectors and the middle class expanding. While rising to the challenges of globalization, the Government was also focusing on social justice and bridging social gaps,” he said, and to that end a plan is being developed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Stressing that peace requires the rule of law, he said his Government will work towards completing the disarmament and reinsertion process, jumpstarted after Colombia signed a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) that ended the Western hemisphere’s longest-running conflict
Mr. Duque stressed that the peace process his Government inherited was fragile due to a lack of funds and the complex and dispersed institutional architecture, but Colombia will fulfill its commitment vis‑à‑vis those who chose to turn away from violence. “Financial support of the international community will ensure that goal,” he said, adding that the law would be enforced in an exemplary manner.
“For peace to shine in Columbia, we must overturn drug trafficking,” he continued. Noting that the recent incremental trafficking increase has become a fuel for organized crime, he expressed his will to break up the transnational crime networks. Acknowledging that prevention is critical from a public health approach, he also stressed that the drug traffickers were predators.
He also stressed the importance of tackling corruption in a determined manner, as it is threat to democracy, social values and institutions. “From the first day of our Government, we presented measures before Congress”, launching an ambitious initiative supported nationwide.
Drawing attention to the situation of Venezuelans fleeing their country, he stressed that Colombia had opened its doors to close to a million of them. The humanitarian crisis in the region was caused by a “dictatorship that annihilates liberties”, Mr. Duque said. The international community must immediately demand the liberation of political prisoners, he continued, calling for the use of all international mechanisms to denounce, investigate and sanction those responsible for that situation.