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Foreign Conflicts

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 12 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Questions (86)

Finian McGrath


102 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will raise the issue of developing a peace process in Colombia at UN and EU levels. [7620/11]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

Colombia has witnessed the longest period of upheaval of any country in Latin America — over 50 years in all. The Colombian people have endured relentless suffering, reflected in the fact that approximately 10% of the population has been internally displaced over the past number of years, a number second only to that of Sudan. The degree of lawlessness that arises from the absence of peace presents a major challenge to any government. The effects of terrorism and narco-trafficking have blighted the lives of many innocent people. The indictment of a large number of senators for association with the FARC, ELN and AUC illustrates the extent of the problems facing the Colombian Government. However, compared with the situation ten years ago, Colombia today has become a safer place to live. Colombians' belief in the prospects for a peaceful future and the impressive recent social and economic development reflected in the strong inward investment flows reinforce the impression that the country is slowly emerging from a grim past. In order to succeed, a peace process in Colombia must tackle the various social and economic elements underlying the conflict. Our approach, and that of the European Union and UN, is to assist and influence the Colombian Government in a manner that results in economic and social development while progressively improving human rights standards.

The Government of Colombia has repeatedly stated its determination to bring an end to violence within the framework of the Justice and Peace Law, passed in 2005, which provides an overall legal framework for the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of illegal armed groups into Colombian society. The Irish Government has given both moral and financial support to the implementation of the Justice and Peace Law.

The Government will continue to monitor the situation in Colombia through our Embassy in Mexico City, which is accredited to Colombia, as well as in cooperation with our EU partners with resident diplomatic missions in that country. We are fully supportive of efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Colombia, and will continue to support the Government of Colombia in its search for a negotiated solution to the internal armed conflict.