By Haruna Gimba
The Government of Columbia has entered into agreement with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) to end a war that affected so many men and women in the country.
Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said the agreement marks a definite step on the road to peace, saying it is an occasion to be hopeful for the future and to strengthen United Nations resolve to support the exemplary peace process.
“UN Women stands in solidarity with the Colombian women who have become an unstoppable force for peace despite suffering so much in this war. In Havana, the women at the table were key to making this arrangement possible.
“As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted, this historic bilateral ceasefire agreement demonstrates that through perseverance, dialogue and dignity it is possible to end a war which has affected so many women and men in Colombia,” she said.
According to the statement, contrary to most peace negotiations in history, in this agreement women have had a significant presence and influence at the peace table itself, at the gender sub-commission formed by the women of both negotiating sides, in national forums and regional consultations throughout the country, and through the
powerful testimony of victims, community leaders, and human rights defenders who have visited Havana repeatedly and have been a constant reminder for negotiators of the importance of their task.
“This agreement serves as a promise that no more men and women from Colombia will suffer the effects of the war, but will instead contribute to generating the conditions for a peaceful Colombia where all citizens can enjoy their full potential.
“This moment calls for us to live up to the positive example set by Colombia and to ensure that, just as these peace negotiations have been different from others, the UN verification mission will also be different, more inclusive, and more respectful of gender equality,” Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.
“As we celebrate this new step and look forward to the journey ahead, let us not forget the sacrifice and effort of Colombian women, and the importance that their leadership and participation must have in the final stage of this peace process and the implementation of all agreements,” the statement added.