“Enormous challenges” lie ahead for the Colombian people and their international partners in turning the historic deal with FARC rebels into a lasting peace.
That’s the view of Jean Arnault who is tasked with leading the UN Mission there to monitor and verify the laying down of arms by rebel fighters.
He was speaking at the end of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates which took place last week in the Colombian capital, Bogotá.
Popular support for the ceasefire in Colombia is “one of the happy developments” in the wake of the recent referendum there, the head of the UN mission in the country has said.
The 2 October plebiscite saw Colombians narrowly rejecting a peace deal between the Government and FARC rebels aimed at ending five decades of conflict.
However, UN mission chief Jean Arnault said strong support for a ceasefire, which took effect in August, indicates the public’s desire for peace despite the vote.
Colombia is set to begin formal negotiations on 27 October in Havana, Cuba, with the country’s second-largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army or ELN, the UN has confirmed.
The announcement comes after two years of exploratory negotiations between the left-wing rebel group and the Government.
It also follows the rejection in a vote by the Colombia people of a landmark peace agreement signed between the FARC movement, the country’s oldest and largest rebel group.
Colombia is addressing its biggest challenge ever: ending more than five decades of armed conflict.
That’s according to the Special Adviser to the nation’s President on Humanitarian Affairs, Paula Gaviria.
The Colombian government and the rebel group FARC this month signed an agreement to bring an end to fighting which began in 1964 that has killed 600,000 people.
Jorge Miyares caught up with Ms Gaviria who was at the UN to attend a meeting on increasing global solidarity for humanitarian needs.
An agreement to release child soldiers serving with one of Colombia’s main armed opposition groups has been welcomed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) reached the deal in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday.
Under the agreement, FARC will release children in its ranks who are younger than 15.
The two sides will also prepare a “roadmap” to free all other children under the age of 18.
More than 250,000 children have been affected by the conflict in Colombia since peace talks between the Government and the country’s main armed opposition group, FARC began three years ago; that’s according to the UN Children’s Fund, (UNICEF).
An estimated 1,000 children were used or recruited by non-state armed groups during the same period.
The conflict has gone on for 50 years, but a final peace agreement following a ceasefire is still being negotiated.
A system to release children from armed groups in Colombia needs to be set up as soon as possible, according to the UN’s most senior envoy in the country.
It follows a commitment made by FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, to stop the recruitment of children under the age of 18.
It’s thought that tens of thousands of children may have been drafted into rebel armies of criminal gangs in the South American nation.
Rocio Franco asked Fabrizio Hochschild , the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombia, to explain the significance of the FARC decision.