The Norwegian police officers Hanne Markhus Andersen, Tordis Kvarteig Ibanez and Synnøve Vullum Stette arrived in Colombia in late September. The three police women participate in the UN mission to monitor the ceasefire agreed upon by the Colombian government and The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Ms. Andersen is stationed at the headquarters in Bogotá as a part of the investigation team at the national level. Ms. Ibanez and Ms. Stette observe the ceasefire and lead a regional investigation unit each in respectively Quibdó, Chocó, and Florencia, Caquetá. The police women are the first and only European police officers in the UN observer mission.
“I look forward to work with the parties of the conflict and in an international environment where people work together across cultures and backgrounds. As observers, we will contribute in the best possible way to support Colombia in the process towards peace. I hope that the contribution by the United Nations can help the transition to peace happen in the best possible way without violent incidents”, says Hanne Markhus Andersen.
The armed conflict in Colombia has lasted for more than 50 years, and has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Colombians. More than six million people have been internally displaced.
“The FARC guerrilla has been around for over 50 years, and the civilian population has suffered. I hope that our contribution can help to stabilize conditions in the country”, says Tordis Kvarteig Ibanez.
In a referendum in October, a majority of Colombians rejected the peace agreement that was signed in Cartagena on 26 September. The Colombian Government and the FARC are still maintaining the ceasefire, and it is important that they continue to do so.
“It feels very rewarding to be working for the UN and be part of what is now happening in Colombia. I hope it will lead towards lasting peace and a better life for the Colombian people”, says Synnøve Vullum Stette.
- The peace talks between the Colombian government and The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were formally launched in Oslo in October 2012, and have since been held in Havana, Cuba. Norway, together with Cuba, has facilitated the negotiations.
- In January 2016 the United Nations Security Council, at the request of the Colombian government and FARC, adopted a resolution (resolution 2261) to establish a political mission of unarmed international observers to monitor and verify the laying down of arms. In all, 400 international observers participate in assuring the ceasefire.
- After the referendum the United Nations Security Council expressed its support to the continued peace talks, and the UN mission continues their limited mandate in Colombia.
- In October 2016 the Colombian government and the guerrilla group ELN announced that they will start negotiations in Ecuador.