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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Spanish / Latin America / UN –

Source: Republic of Colombia

Bogotá (Oct. 20/20). “The year 2020 has been complex. The effects of COVID-19 have impacted our countries in daily life, public health, employment, the economy, social development and well-being ”. In this way, Foreign Minister Claudia Blum began her speech at the OAS General Assembly.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that this moment requires the OAS to promote solidarity and cooperation, to support the responses of the countries to the pandemic. Chancellor Blum stressed that in the face of this reality we must respond with more democracy, “a political system that guarantees long-term recovery, strengthening the institutional framework and the validity of human rights.” In this regard, she reaffirmed Colombia’s commitment to multilateralism as a framework to address the challenges facing the region and humanity.

Likewise, the Chancellor referred to the Commitment for Colombia reactivation plan, which the Government promotes in its axes of job creation, clean growth, support for the poorest and most vulnerable, and commitment to the countryside and Peace with Legality.

In this regard, he reaffirmed the country’s progress in the implementation of the 2016 Agreement, on issues such as the reincorporation of former combatants and the territorial development of the 170 municipalities most affected by violence and poverty.

The Foreign Minister emphasized the role of the OAS for economic reactivation, and invited the States to approve the resolution that opens the doors to the Inter-American Business Charter, an initiative presented by Colombia during the Private Sector Forum of the Americas, in September 2019. “This instrument will allow us to establish principles to promote the role of the private sector in the integral development of the Hemisphere. Including the strengthening of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that generate employment, equity and formality ”, she assured. The initiative becomes important in the context of the pandemic, given the need for States to reactivate the economy, employment and well-being.

In her speech, the Minister also referred to the critical situation in Venezuela, calling on the States to reject the fraudulent elections in December, to demand justice for the crimes denounced in UN and OAS reports, and to address the ties of the illegitimate regime with international organized crime networks.

The Minister concluded by emphasizing that: “In the framework of this pandemic, the Hemisphere has the opportunity to work together in order to promote innovative strategies that promote the social and economic development of our peoples, with a vision of inclusion and sustainability, strengthening cooperation to build more just, peaceful and resilient societies in America ”.

Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Claudia Blum, in the Second Plenary Session of the 50th Period of Sessions of the OAS General Assembly

Mr. President of the General Assembly;

Secretary General, Luis Almagro;

Deputy Secretary General, Néstor Méndez;

Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor for me to greet you and participate in this dialogue of the OAS General Assembly.

The year 2,020 has been complex. The effects of COVID-19 have impacted our countries in daily life, public health, employment, the economy, social development and well-being.Colombia expresses its solidarity to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones as a consequence of this health crisis.

For the OAS, this moment requires promoting solidarity and cooperation, to support our responses to the pandemic, reaffirming the pillars of the Organization.

As Secretary General Almagro has pointed out, in the face of this reality we must respond with more democracy. Political system that guarantees long-term recovery, strengthening the institutional framework and the enforcement of human rights.

Mr. president:

The Government of President Iván Duque is implementing the Commitment to Colombia plan that integrates four key axes in the economic and social recovery. These are: job creation; clean growth; support for the poorest and most vulnerable; and commitment to the field and Peace with Legality.

My country has decided to strengthen entrepreneurship promotion policies and accelerate strategic plans in health, infrastructure, rural development, generation of clean energy, value chains and technology.

Colombia continues to implement the policy of Peace with Legality, even in this time of health emergency. With this Policy, progress is being made in complying with the 2016 peace agreement, programs for the reincorporation of former combatants continue to be consolidated, and development plans with a territorial focus are being implemented in the 170 municipalities most affected by violence and poverty. Likewise, transitional justice continues to act independently.

We positively acknowledge the work of the Mission to support the MAPP-OEA peace process, and the support of the countries of the region in this legal peacebuilding.

All our development and reactivation actions are framed in the 2030 Agenda. Fundamental roadmap in recovery, to achieve the objectives of equity, poverty eradication, environmental protection, and sustainable growth.

Digital transformation is another transversal axis in our development plan. During the pandemic, this process has made it possible to strengthen the monitoring of COVID-19 and take effective measures in the health service. Additionally, it made possible the models of tele-education, tele-medicine, tele-work, electronic commerce, and digital services in times of emergency.

Mr. president:

I want to refer to the situation in Venezuela, which deserves hemispheric attention and continues to worsen amid the pandemic.

A few months ago, the Supreme Court of Justice illegitimately appointed the members of the Electoral Council. Additionally, the intention of the Nicolás Maduro regime to hold fraudulent elections in December threatens the National Assembly, the only legitimate and democratic institution that survives in Venezuela. These elections without guarantees should not be recognized by the international community. Maduro’s attacks against the National Assembly, and against political parties, openly contravene the Inter-American Charter.

The OAS must insist on holding free and transparent presidential elections, with political guarantees, an independent electoral referee, and international observers, as a requirement to recover democracy and begin economic and social reconstruction.

On the other hand, the coexistence of the regime with transnational crime and with actors responsible for terrorist acts represents a threat to the security and stability of the region. We call for the application of the principle of NO indifference, and to demand that the universal obligations to combat terrorism, contained in Resolution 1373 of the UN Security Council, be fulfilled.

Likewise, the report of the UN Independent Mission on Venezuela identifies human rights violations and systematic attacks that would represent crimes against humanity. These findings are in addition to complaints that different countries and the Inter-American System have raised. It is urgent to unite new voices so that there is justice and the actions of the regime are investigated, by instances such as the International Criminal Court.

More than five million Venezuelans have fled their country, and about 1.8 million of them live in Colombia. Our Government has facilitated access to health, education and assistance programs for the most vulnerable. International cooperation is vital in this process, especially when it is estimated that 200,000 more migrants will arrive in Colombia in the coming months.

Mr. president:

According to the International Monetary Fund, Latin America and the Caribbean is the region hardest hit by COVID-19. Regional GDP will fall 8.1% this year, with its impacts on employment, inequality and poverty. For this reason, we must redouble solidarity and regional cooperation, to recover the path of development and build equity.

Colombia reaffirms its commitment to multilateralism, as a framework to address the challenges faced by our region and humanity.

We recognize the work of the Pan American Health Organization to generate coordinated responses in the region and promote timely, safe and effective access to treatments and vaccines against COVID-19.

We also highlight the Guide for political action to face the COVID-19 pandemic, contribution of the OAS in the defense of democratic principles when addressing the challenges of the health crisis.

Likewise, the OAS can promote dialogues and frameworks that support economic reactivation.

I would like to refer to the Inter-American Business Charter, an initiative presented by President Iván Duque during the Private Sector Forum of the Americas, in September 2.019. This instrument will allow us to establish principles to promote the role of the private sector in the integral development of the Hemisphere. Including the strengthening of micro, small and medium enterprises that generate employment, equity and formality.

The initiative becomes important in the context of the pandemic, given the need for States to reactivate the economy, employment and well-being.

In this regard, my delegation invites us to support the adoption of this mandate, in order to agree, with a sense of urgency, on the Inter-American Business Charter.

Distinguished Heads of Delegation:

In the framework of this pandemic, the Hemisphere has the opportunity to work together to promote innovative strategies that promote the social and economic development of our peoples. We must do so with a vision of inclusion and sustainability, strengthening cooperation to build more just, peaceful and resilient societies in America.

Thank you very much.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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