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Report of the Mission to Support the Peace Process Highlights Efforts and Challenges of the Victims and Land Restitution Law in Colombia

  November 6, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today presented to the Permanent Council of the institution the eighteenth Report of the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), which highlights the progress and challenges in the implementation of Law 1448 (The Victims and Land Restitution Law) “as a crucial tool for establishing a firm and lasting peace."

The report highlights the efforts of the Colombian government to implement measures for the integral restitution of victims, particularly in terms of lands and collective reparation. In this regard, Secretary General Insulza noted that within the framework of Law 1448, "the OAS has observed that social organizations of victims and other entities supporting the process have begun to articulate and enter into agreements under which their know-how and expertise can be tapped in the service of the land restitution policy."

Referring to the challenges ahead, the leader of the hemispheric institution emphasized the need to strengthen collective security mechanisms and to create conditions for victims to participate in the process with confidence. He further urged the Colombian government to step up the pace of the investigation and clarification of incidents linked to threats and murders of persons involved in the process of restitution. "Identifying those responsible for these crimes, both directly and indirectly, would remove the main obstacle to this process," he said.

The report also refers to the presence of landmines and unexploded ammunitions in the territories subject to restitution. In this regard, Secretary General Insulza reiterated the commitment of the OAS General Secretariat to Colombia with regard to demining through its Program of Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (PACAM), which has long been working with and supporting the Colombian government.

The OAS leader also acknowledged that the country is experiencing an historic moment in light of the talks between the national government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and emphasized that the experiences accumulated during nine years of the MAPP/OAS in Colombia could be very useful and important in the event that the current talks are consolidated. "I want to reaffirm our commitment to accompany and support each and every one of the initiatives that Colombia puts into place to create opportunities and scenarios and carry out concrete actions aimed at achieving peace,” he said, and concluded by thanking the donors and friends of the MAPP/OAS, in particular the Canadian government, which announced a new financial contribution to the Mission.

The Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González, acknowledged the "serious and precise" report presented by the Secretary General and recalled that the MAPP/OAS process “has contributed significantly to coexistence and to peace, and is one of the examples of how this Organization is present to deal with a conflict face to face, under a basic premise: that to the extent that we have peace and coexistence across the Hemisphere and there is solidarity between countries, a healthy peace and democracy will prevail."

The representative of Colombia said that, from his perspective, the MAPP "will be an exemplary experience for the world, and as such we think its work is vital and it is key to maintain it." He concluded by welcoming the recommendations presented in the report, which he described as "balanced and accurate" and welcomed the recent agreement to extend the mandate of the MAPP/OAS and "the support and assistance offered by the OAS to our country in this matter."

In addition, the Permanent Council at its meeting today approved the three documents submitted by the Chair of the Committee on Hemispheric Security and the Permanent Representative of Haiti, Duly Brutus, on the preparations for the Fourth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA IV). The documents approved were the draft agenda, the draft schedule and the draft Final Declaration of the Ministerial Meeting, which shall be submitted to the plenary of the MISPA IV, to be held on November 21 and 22 in Medellin, Colombia.

The Council also took note of the Report of the Permanent Representative of Panama, Arturo Vallarino, about the 23rd Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Panama City, last month. Ambassador Vallarino submitted the Summit’s Final Declaration (in Spanish).

The Panamanian diplomat also stressed that the Declaration recognizes the Summit as a setting for "dialogue, political consultation and cooperation between the Iberian countries, that seeks a transformation of our society, in which our communities play a vital role in economic growth and sustainable development, with governance, social inclusion and justice as the bases of that dialogue, to bring social welfare to our people." Ambassador Vallarino added that from now on the Summit will take place every two years, and Mexico will host the next meeting.

On another point on the agenda, the Council approved the request of the civil society organization "Colombia Rinde Cuentas Veeduría," not registered with the OAS, to be invited to the MISPA IV. The Council also approved the participation of the following civil society organizations registered with the OAS: Red de Seguridad y Defensa de América Latina (RESDAL) and Observatorio Internacional de Prisiones de Argentina (OIP), from Argentina; Fundación AMBIO, from Costa Rica; y Jamaicans for Justice, from Jamaica.

Finally, the Permanent Observer of Serbia, Vladimir Petrovic, made a presentation on his country's experience as an OAS observer on the tenth anniversary of the acceptance of its status in the Organization.

Ambassador Petrovic praised the work of Secretary General Insulza, "whose energy and leadership are a constant contribution to the development of the activities of the Organization, and also contribute to the improvement of relations between the OAS and the observer countries." Ambassador Petrovic added that the OAS is one of the "leading regional platforms in promoting democracy, good governance and human rights."

During the meeting, representatives of the member countries of Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the United States, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Nicaragua and The Bahamas, as well as representatives from the observer countries of Spain and Serbia took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-417/13