By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
NEW YORK, United States — The United Nations Security Council, led by the delegation of the United Kingdom, has approved a 12 month long mission to monitor the cease-fire between the Colombian government and FARC Rebels. The resolution was unanimously adopted, and had been requested by both parties.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was reportedly “pleased by the strong commitment Council members had shown to the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in Colombia.
Both parties have pledged safety for the members of the mission, who will be unarmed. The mission will include experts from Latin America and Caribbean States.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will present details of the mission within 30 days of a final agreement being signed. He will then report every 90 days on the progress of the mission.
After the initial 12 month period, the mission may be extended with the consent of the Colombian government and FARC leadership.
The move was welcomed by Colombian officials. “The Security Council’s decision means we are no longer going alone, but hand in hand with the U.N., with the entire world, toward the end of this war,” said Colombia President Juan Manual Santos.
The disarmament is tentatively scheduled to begin on March 23, though it is uncertain if a final agreement will be reached before that time. The parties have so far reached agreements in the areas of drug trafficking, land rights, and punishment for human rights violations.
Although the Colombian government has agreed to hold a public referendum to allow Colombians to vote for or against the final agreement, FARC representatives have expressed concern over this method.
The violence between government forces and FARC rebels in Colombia is said to be the longest running conflict in Latin America – lasting for over fifty years. Over 220,000 people have died and 5 million others displaced throughout the conflict.
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