The humanitarian organization also offered international support in order to attend the arrival of Venezuelans into the country
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, confirmed during a short visit to Colombia that the organization remains committed to the quest of peace in the South American country and that "there is no justification for anymore armed violence”.
After meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos at the Casa de Nariño, Guterres visited a rural area in the department of Meta, where he met with victims and ex-combatants of FARC to learn about the advances that the implementation of the peace agreement so far.
The inhabitants indicated that there is still a need for greater presence of the government; despite the Executive branch's commitments to cover the entire territory with health services, education, and military presence, these promises have been left unfulfilled.
"I believe that the construction of peace is not divisible, the construction of peace is a central objective of the Colombian people and has to do with everything that happens, I believe that the reasons of each process have to be used to be better in the following stages. My hope is that they understand that there is no justification for the armed conflict to continue in Colombia”, stated the UN Secretary-General, emphasizing the symbolic importance that Colombia's peace agreement and the challenge that represents to build an inclusive democracy "capable of mobilizing citizenship around development".
Crisis in Venezuela: A risk to Colombian peace?
During his visit to Colombia, Antonio Guterres also mentioned the exodus of Venezuelans who arrive to the neighboring country fleeing the humanitarian and political crisis that the oil nation is facing.
At this point, the UN Secretary-General indicated that "Colombia is suffering the impact of the presence of hundreds of thousands of people leaving Venezuela" and that due to this, the government of Juan Manuel Santos will have full support of the humanitarian organization.
As claimed by Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín during previous months, the massive arrival of Venezuelans to the country represents an "additional cost" to the State; the resources that were destined to meet the needs of the post-conflict, such as the generation of new projects, roads, education, health, and development, must now be spend on the thousands of Venezuelans who arrive to Colombia seeking a better life.
According to data provided last December by Migration Colombia, until the end of 2017, more than 550,000 Venezuelans reside in Colombia; 67,000 of them would be beneficiaries of the Special Permit of Permanence (PEP), which allows them to open bank accounts and join health systems. The Colombian Immigration Office, in its most recent report, also indicated that more than 17,000 Venezuelan citizens have been treated for emergencies and that 39% of Venezuelan citizens who have processed the PEP are in the city of Bogotá, 14% in the department of Antioquia, and 10% in the department of Atlántico, among others.
Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto