Media Center

Press Release


  March 1, 2006

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza said progress of the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia is “significant” to date. He called on the member countries to continue supporting the Organization’s efforts towards overcoming the challenges in order to secure a lasting peace in that country.

“The challenge of Colombia is perhaps the most urgent one this Organization faces,” the Secretary General stated as he presented the sixth quarterly report on the Mission to the 34 countries of the Permanent Council today. It is important to “recognize the complexity of any peace process, and in particular, the case if Colombian where there has been more than 50 years of conflict”, he added.

Insulza thanked the Member States, the observer countries, and the international organizations that have collaborated with this initiative, and said that thanks to their support, the Mission is “expanding its personnel for verification tasks by 100%,” with the hiring of more than 20 officers. He also noted that over the coming weeks, “the Mission will realize its goal of having 10 regional offices and more than 100 officers.”

The Secretary General reported that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recently visited Bogotá, an indication that “human rights are fundamental to the Organization’s work in Colombia.”

The report presented today includes a detailed summary of the work carried out by OAS experts in the areas of “verifying the cease-fire and cessation of hostilities, verifying demobilization and disarmament, verifying that the armed units have effectively been disbanded and reincorporated into civilian life, and following up on the individual verification or reintegrated combatants.”

For his part, Ambassador Alvaro Tirado Mejia, Representative of Colombia to the OAS, noted that the “process of demobilizing the armed groups is nearing its final phase.” He said that “the report provides an encouraging and optimistic overview of the tremendous work being carried out in my country.”

“Under the Secretary General’s leadership, the international community and in particular the Americas have provided an important political and economic support to the Mission,” added Tirado Mejia.

During the meeting chaired by Ambassador Sonia Johnny of Saint Lucia, representatives from several nations expressed their support to the work of the OAS in Colombia.

Reference: E-044/06