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S&D MEPs in Colombia: Seize the Moment for Peace


22 Jul 2016


Global Europe

Socialist and Democrat MEPs have called for the Columbian people to seize the moment in a referendum on the peace deal in Columbia, which comes at the end of 50 years of conflict. S&D Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Richard Howitt and S&D MEP and Member of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly Javi Lopez made the call during a visit by members of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to Bogotá this week.
The delegation has held meetings with Colombian President Santos, as well as former President Uribe, and the Speakers, and senior Members, of both houses of the Colombian Congress, as well as civil society representatives.
Richard Howitt MEP, a long-time campaigner for peace and human rights in Colombia, said:
“We need to see the unity of all political forces in the European Parliament to support of the Columbian peace process. The European Union has an important role to legitimise the process, which will help convince ordinary Colombians to vote for the deal in the referendum. We need to show that Europe and the international community will continue to support the implementation of the deal, and to build confidence on all sides. This is the best available resolution to the conflict and one we all need to get behind.”

“This week's visit comes after the Constitutional Court's ruling that the referendum on the peace deal can go ahead and just before the expected date when the deal itself will be initialed, is the right time to call on all factions in Colombia to 'seize the moment' for peace.
Javi Lopez MEP, added:
"This week's talks have given us important opportunities to raise concerns about security guarantees for demobilised combatants, lack of access to healthcare for political prisoners and continuing concerns about the need to fully dismantle paramilitary structures. Difficult compromises have been made in the peace talks and need to be finalised, so the right position for Europe to take now is to give full and unqualified support to a process which can and should finally bring peace to a country and people who have suffered for too long."
“There can be no peace without justice in Columbia. This will not be an easy task. We need to ensure that victims have a place at the centre of the process, as without truth there will never be true national reconciliation.
“Ultimately, the end to this long-running conflict shows a rare glimmer of hope in a troubled world.”